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If you treat your blog like a hobby, it’s never going to be more than that. It’ll always be just a hobby. That’s why they say that if you want your blog to succeed, if you want to get to the point where it can even replace your regular full-time job, then you need to treat it accordingly. If you want your blog to succeed like a business, you need to treat it like a business. This has all been said before.
And that’s partly why today’s discussion might throw you for a bit of a loop. Normally, we’d say that if you want something to be true, you have to believe it yourself and treat it accordingly. If you want other people to respect you and your business, you need to respect yourself and your business first. Why is it, then, that treating yourself like a small child might be one of the most grown-up decisions you can make as a blogger and business owner?
Recognition and Rewards
Let’s start with an easy one. As grown up and mature as all of us like to think that we are, when you dig deep into the heart of it all, we still function on rather infantile motivations. You want candy, except you’ve probably replaced that candy with something else at this point. A fast car, a big house, a fancy vacation, a new iPhone, fame, fortune, public recognition, whatever.
You want that carrot dangling on a stick.
Rather than beat yourself up over this, why not turn it to your advantage? Remember back in kindergarten when your teacher may have given you a “gold star” for good behavior or for doing well on a homework assignment? Maybe in later grades, you could collect gold stars and redeem them for a special reward after you had collected enough.
Play up this same kind of dynamic with yourself to stay motivated. Long-term goals can feel lofty and so far away, so you need some shorter term gratification to keep you on the right path. Say, after you write a certain number of blog posts, you can treat yourself to a fancy pastry from your favorite local bakery. The reward doesn’t have to be huge; it just has to be desirable. And then you can say you’ve earned it.
This Is How You Do It
There is a time and place for “free play.” Kids need the time and space to explore and experiment with the world on their own, so they have the opportunity to discover and learn things for themselves. That’s true as a blogger too, which is why you need to do something else when you’ve got writer’s block, for example. I get that.
But, for so many other tasks and projects, it’s much better if you know exactly what needs to be done ahead of time, how to do it, and the order in which to do it. Clear, simple instructions that aren’t overly complicated and unnecessarily convoluted are how you’ll keep moving forward, doing the things that really matter.
If you’ve got a big, daunting project, break it down into more manageable chunks. Then, clearly lay out the plan for how you’ll approach each segment, how you’ll know you’ve completed each part to a satisfactory level, and what you need for each step along the way. Fail to plan and you may as well plan to fail.
May I Have Your Attention Please?
It’s probably the case that our rapidly diminishing attention spans were caused, at least in part, to the rapid-fire, instant gratification nature of the social Internet. Our attention darts from Facebook post to TikTok video in no time flat. It’s harder than ever to stay focused.
And while there are certainly techniques and strategies you can try for improving your focus and blocking out distractions, sometimes you’ve just got to work with what you have. If you have young children of your own, you might know that the typical school day is broken up into a great number of activities. The structure is clearly there and each activity takes up a relatively short amount of time.
Kindergarten teachers know, for example, that you can’t hold a five-year-old’s attention for a three-hour lecture on the origins of the ABCs. If you’re trying to stay motivated and productive, take a similar approach to your work day. True, batch processing can be great, so focus on just one thing at a time. Leverage those short bursts of attention before moving on to the next thing.
Shake, Shake, Shake Your Sillies Out
If you’re a parent with a young child, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard this song before. Or maybe you even remember it from your own childhood. I know I’ve heard the Raffi version, but apparently The Wiggles and The Learning Station have their own versions too. Either way, you’ve got to shake your sillies out.
You’ve surely noticed how full-time blogging can really lend itself to an especially sedentary lifestyle. Sitting in the same chair for hours on end, day after day, staring at the same computer screen is not great for your physical or mental health. So, get up and move your body. Teachers employ the same technique with their students. There’s always some element of physical play, at least once a day.
How you choose to move your body is completely up to you. Maybe you pump up the jam and dance like no one’s watching. Perhaps you take in deep breaths as you follow a relaxation yoga routine. Or you go for a jog around the block. It doesn’t matter. Just move your body, and you’ll feel much better (and more prepared to be productive and focused too).
And if you’re really good, maybe you’ll even get a special treat. Maybe.
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