Being busy is like the curse of the decade. Everyone is busy and nothing gets done even when we’re supposed to be more productive with 20 tabs open on a browser and another 30 tabs open on another. Unbelievable? How can you get shit done?
That’s my reality almost every day. First and foremost, I always have two browsers open with my first tab on each browser being my gmail accounts for work and personal. On one hand, I’m trying to create more content. On the other, I’m trying to get my learning on with every podcast I can get my hands on.
And this is the moment that I dip into overwhelm.
“My goal is to write one blog post per day for the next two weeks, but nah, I don’t feel like it. Between checking my Pinterest, pinning new pins and deleting underperforming pins, what else is on the plate? What should I do first? Oh Pinterest. But I don’t feel like it. Nevermind, I think I’d just kick back and relax with the newest episode on Netflix.”
When you have too much going on at once, you get nothing done.
For me, I know what I need to get done, but when it gets in my head that there’s so much do, overwhelm begins to creep in.
Sounds like you?
Despite my seemingly unproductive system I just talked about, over the last two months, I’ve actually nailed down a system that works for me. And I’m sharing that with you today.
Read on if you’re interested, pal.
#1 Revisit your “why”
So you’re not a hamster spinning wheels for no reason…
There have been multiple times I’ve lost my initial “why” when I started this blog. And truthfully speaking, the “why” hasn’t evolved much, but the paths I’m taking to get there have. I’ve tried multiple strategies that I personally didn’t see the purpose of going through with those because it didn’t align with my interests after testing it out. I’ve also scaled down on services to revisit my ideal audience avatar and implemented more affiliate strategies as I did with my last blog.
Every time I feel unmotivated, I ask myself why. Why am I doing this in the first place? How much do I like it? Is it a win-win for both parties?
The first time I heard of the principle of “alignment”, I realized how powerful it is. It can be applied to any situation. You can be doing anything and if it’s not aligned, your situation won’t be optimal:
- If your strengths and talents aren’t aligned with your work, you won’t enjoy it as much
- If your actions don’t align with your thoughts, then you’re not what you want
So when you feel overwhelmed or “so busy” that you can’t handle this anymore, you just want to go back to your “why.” Your “why” might not have changed, but your situation today is also different from one year ago or even a couple months ago. Sometimes it takes a bit of re-visioning and back to the drawing board (and I really have one!).
I’ve picked up “stream of consciousness” writing lately. When you write you don’t have to worry about grammar, structure, or rules. You just spill what comes out of your subconsciousness. I was in denial that morning pages worked, but this style of writing has helped me so much in being honest with myself!
Here’s an action item for you: Start writing a “stream of consciousness” journal. (It’s also called morning pages though I usually write them in the afternoon or at night) Don’t think, just write and see what comes out.
#2 Narrow down to the “two categories of work” and focus
For the last few months, this was the biggest block I had. I was spreading myself too thin on all grounds: content creation, traffic building, list building, playing with promoted pins, copywriting services, and taking on my own learning.
And probably tons more of itty bitty details like trying to get the perfect SEO optimization nailed down.
I can’t tell you what you should be doing, this all depends on how far you’re into your blogging journey. But if you’re reading this blog, you’re most likely in the initial stages of blogging.
In that sense, you’ll want to focus on the content creation process and bringing in more traffic. In fact, because the whole content creation process is so strenuous, I’ve actually shared with you my strategy on how I stay sane.
Want to know how I control my sanity by splitting the content creation process into five phases? You can read that below.
I will nail down the most critical goal you’re trying achieve for that month or quarter. For me, when I noticed a dip in my Pinterest traffic, I immediately published 13 blog posts in the span of 3 weeks. I also did some Pinterest housekeeping and saw that I have over 9k pins on Pinterest — and some of which have low repins.
These underperforming pins were dragging down my account. So I was browsing around Boardbooster and discovered this maintenance tool called Pin Mover. I went ahead and plucked out all the low-performing pins from group boards.
And you know what?
That was almost 66% of my pins!
That was not a fun, but a urgent task to finish. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how much new content I create, if Pinterest demotes my account, the new content won’t perform well either.
So when you take a look at everything on your plate, see which tasks are important and which ones are urgent. Ideally, you’ll want to focus on important tasks, but you also can’t neglect urgent ones either.
You can see the matrix below and see which quadrant your tasks fall under.
#3 Use tools to create systems and set foundations.
One of the biggest regrets I had is not paying for more expensive tools when I started this blog. This is especially true for email service provider and Tailwind. I started off using Boardbooster because it can loop and automate. My thought was that if I had something that can automate all my Pinterest, I wouldn’t need Tailwind. So naturally, I never explored Tailwind until recently.
I love Boardbooster and Tailwind for different reasons. Boardbooster for automation and Tailwind for analytics and scheduling.
The other regret is using free email service providers. I hopped from MailChimp to Mailerlite to ActiveCampaign. Now, this can’t really be a regret because MailChimp was all I knew about before Mailerlite before Active.
I have good reasons for switching over to Mailerlite because it offered the whole suite of list building tools. At the time, I didn’t want to pay for Leadpages. And I still don’t.
But I quickly grew out of the platform because I had more automation to set up. I also started sending out more emails and I suddenly felt the Mailerlite platform didn’t move as fast as I’d like. I still recommend it if you have absolutely no budget, but if you do…
Invest in a platform so you don’t have to transfer all your stuff later on. It’s not hard, it’s just tedious and “it’s another task you need to add to your list.”
Why didn’t I see this coming?
Tools and software are relatively cheap. At $9/month you can get started with ActiveCampaign and they even have a free trial!
On the other hand, I see some bloggers go all out and use MeetEdgar in the beginning and then later realize they are spending more for the tool than they’re making from their blog. At $50/month, let’s face it, that’s hefty. I say this for three reasons:
- Since social media is the place to engage and have conversations, you really need to be the platform at least a few minutes a day. Firing out posts isn’t the most important if you never stick around for the conversation. And scheduling tools only help you to schedule, not engage.
- There are other cheaper alternatives that are just as user-friendly. Recurpost (free plan) and SmartQueue are similar and cheaper options at less than half the price.
- Social media is not everyone’s bread and butter. For some people, it’s their list. For others, it’s YouTube. Or webinars. So naturally, it makes sense to only spend more for a robust piece of software if that channel is your core channel.
Pay and use tools whenever you can afford. Be responsible for what you choose though. Don’t hop on everything that has a good review.
The product might be good, but not perfect for your situation, strategy or finances.
Pro Tip: Some companies offer annual plans. If you know you’re in it for the long haul, pick the annual plan. You’ll save money along the way. Tailwind’s monthly plan is $15/month while it’s annual plan cuts down to only $10/month.
No brainer, huh?
#4 Take care of yourself and do something you love.
I know this isn’t a tip. But I don’t do it enough.
I just got off the phone with a close friend I haven’t talked to in two months. We’re both just away in our own land and busy with work.
A few weeks ago I started writing bedtime pages (my version of morning pages if you didn’t catch it, ha). Only through writing and spilling the beans from my subconscious did I realize that I wasn’t being completely honest with myself.
Especially during days where I was hella tired.
The beauty of your body is that it doesn’t lie even when you try to ignore its commands.
Between trying to optimize for traffic and creating content, sometimes I feel like I can’t carve out more time for learning.
Always try to take an hour each day to learn. This can be to listen to your favorite podcast during your commute or taking that course to add oomph to your design skills or photography course to be the next Instagram rock star.
You’ll also realize that once you stop learning, you’ll eventually hit a wall on your growth. Because everything you know, you’ve already done and there’s this void, “now what?”
I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I’m unmotivated is because I’m not satisfied with my own growth sometimes. For you it can be:
- You’re physically tired (try eating more healthy, getting enough sleep, or working out)
- You’re mentally not sure what to do (learn from people you like!)
- You’re not seeing any growth and wondering if this is worth it
- You’re not being supported by people you love
Learning will help you take care of your blog. But you also want to take care of yourself by doing something you love. Do something you usually love or something you wanted to do for a while.
Lately, for me, that was getting my eyebrows done. Seriously, I look like a grizzly bear before I got the excesses plucked!
Action tip: Pick up a podcast, take that course you’ve always wanted to, or have a conversation with someone you want to learn from.
- Revisit your “why”
- Narrow down to the most important and urgent stuff
- Use tools and create systems
- Take care of yourself and learn something new
What do you do to stay motivated and get shit done?