How to Overcome Blogger Procrastination
In today’s lesson I want to talk about an issue that I think is at the heart of why many blogs don’t reach their potential. In fact it’s an issue that I think is at the heart of why many people don’t reach their potential in many areas of life.
I want to talk about procrastination and why we so often don’t do what we know we should do.
- In this episode I’ll share a quote from my mum that changed my life.
- In this episode I’ll share a couple of stories of my own procrastination and how I pushed through it to achieve some pretty remarkable things.
- In this episode I’ll share with you a challenge that I hope will help us all to get something off our ‘someday’ list and put it onto our ‘today’ list
If you’re someone who procrastinates and perhaps feels that they’re letting opportunities pass them by because you’re not taking the action you know you should take – this episode is for you.
Further Resources on How Procrastination Stopped Me Writing a Million Dollar Blog Post
- How to Start a Blog
- 10 Surefire Ways to Overcome Blogging Procrastination
- 7 Tips for Avoiding Procrastination. Without Delay is the Easiest Way.
Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban Video
Challenge: Identify one thing that you have been avoiding.
- Tell someone about it – tell someone in your ‘real life’.
- Tell us in the Facebook Challenge Group (here’s the specific thread to comment on)
- Put a date on it of when you are going to do it by
- Get to work!
In today’s lesson, I want to talk about an issue that I think is at the heart of why many bloggers don’t reach their potential. In fact, it’s an issue that I think is at the heart of why many people don’t reach their potential in many areas of their life. Today, I want to talk about procrastination and why so often we don’t do what we know we should do.
In today’s episode, I’ll share a quote from my mom that changed my life. In today’s episode, I’ll share a couple of stories of my own procrastination and how I pushed through that to achieve some fairly remarkable things. In this episode, I’ll share with you a challenge that I hope will help us all to get something off our someday list, something we’ve been procrastinating on and to put it on our today list. If you’re someone who procrastinates and perhaps feels like you’re letting opportunity pass you by because you’re not taking action that you know you should take, this episode is for you.
I want to start today‘s show with a quote from my mom. I quite often quote Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein and other such people on my Twitter account at @problogger but I added to my tweets recently this quote from my mom because I realized that it’s something that had really shaped me and really put the finger on an issue that had been a bigger part of my life and that had potentially held me back in many ways.
This is the quote, “Your life will be better if you take action on the things you avoid.” It’s a very simple idea. Your life will be better, your blog will be better, your business will be better, your relationships will be better if you take action on the things that you avoid.
That’s a bit of a paraphrase because my mom used to say this in many different ways and she started saying it as, I was probably around the age of 4 or 5 and she began to notice that I was a procrastinator. My earliest memory of procrastination was when I used to get a 20 cent piece for pocket money on every Friday morning if I’d clean my room and my other chores for the week. And of course, as a procrastinator I always left thing to the very last minute.
I’ll get the pocket money at 8:30 am just before we left the school. If I had not cleaned my room by that point, I didn’t get the money. But I always got the money because I had this little deadline and I worked towards it. But I never cleaned my room until 8:25, it was always left to the last minute and this is around the time that my mom began to say, “Your life will be better if you take action on the things that you avoid.”
I’m sure she began to say it about other things because I was that kind of kid who always left things the last minute, I left my paper around to the last minute when I got that, I left homework to the last minute, and when I got a part time job in the supermarket I left getting there to the last minute, I left studying for essays and exams in high school and university to the last minute. I even avoided getting to work when I got my first full time job until the last minute. I usually got things done because there was a deadline.
Unfortunately, because I left things to the last minute, the quality of what I was doing wasn’t always great. The natural enemy of procrastination of course is the deadline. This is the way most procrastinators kind of get by. This is the way we do get things done. It’s the way I pay my taxes. It’s the way I get my keynote talks done when I’m presenting at a conference. That’s the way I buy Vanessa a christmas present.
Deadlines really help us as procrastinators but here’s the thing, this is why I think my mom used to say this to me over and over again. There are many things in life that simply don’t have deadlines. They don’t have a natural deadline to them, or they do might have a deadline but they’re so skewed and so far in the future that they don’t actually impact the way we live our life.
Some of you might have heard my thoughts and my own progression on health. Health is an area where there is a deadline but the delaine is so far in the future for those of us who are young-ish that we don’t actually get motivated by it. The deadline is when we’re 70, or when we’re 80. It’s not impacting us now even though we know we should eat well, we should exercise, we should look after our mental health, we should look after our education and those types of things that help us to be healthy people.
We’re not really motivated by that deadline because it’s in 40, 50 years in the future and so we tend to procrastinate. We tend to put these things in our someday least. This is something I think we all do in different areas of our life, for many of us it is in health. One of the things that I’ve learned over the last few years is that there are many aspects of blogging where there are no deadlines as well. There are many aspects of business, there are many aspects of creating pursuits like podcasting and YouTubing where there are no actual deadlines, or when we have these fuzzy deadlines and as a result we’re not motivated by them.
Let me share a story with you that I’m sure some of you will relate to. I was recently going through my desk which has a drawer dedicated to notebooks. I don’t know if you’re a notebook kind of guy or girl but I have this drawer in my desk that is full of notebooks particularly from the early 2000 and that’s how I pretty much took notes at conferences, I kept my ideas. It was almost like a journal or diary in many ways but it is also where I did a lot of my planning.
I found this notebook from 2009 and it was full. It was full right from the first page right to the end. Towards the end of it, I had a page dedicated to my goals for 2010. Obviously, it was probably November, December that year of 2009. I was beginning to think about what I should do next year. Right at the top of my goals list for 2010 was the words, and I’ll post this in the show notes an actual picture of my journal, “Start ProBlogger podcast.” That was right at the top of my goals list.
Underneath that, I had a little description of what the show would be like. I said it will be a weekly show with tutorials on growing profitable blogs and then I named some of the categories, starting a blog, finding readers, building community, making money, creating content, then I said it would have some interviews but it would be mainly talking head, me, delivering the content which is actually how it turned out to be. Then I also had a little bullet point, “Challenges?” Obviously I was thinking about maybe doing some challenges.
I don’t exactly remember how I put that on my list back in 2009, my goals for 2010, but I presume it was because I was seeing some of my friends like Pat Flynn, Aimee Porterfield, Chris Dhaka, some of these people starting to talk about podcasting and actually starting their own podcasts. I remember a number of times, people like Pat and Chris particularly, saying, “You really should start a podcast.” There it was at the top of my list for goals for 2010.
2010 rolled around a month or so later and from my memory of 2010, life was really busy. I had a lot of excuses why I didn’t get my podcast launched in 2010. We had two little kids running around the house, I think we’re moving home around that time. I had two successful blogs already, we’re in our second year of the ProBlogger Event. Life was busy.
Also, alongside it, there were times where I remember feeling fear when it came to the podcast. I remember thinking to myself what if no one listens, what if I sound stupid, what if no can understand my accent, what if I suck at podcasting? And then there were other excuses as well, you know, I don’t know how to set it up, I don’t have the right microphone, I’ve never done this before. The excuses went on and on. I also didn’t tell anyone about my goal and for all of these reasons, it slipped onto my someday list. “Yeah, I’ll do that one day,” and this is what I tend to do as a procrastinator, I say to myself, “Yeah, I’m not going to rule out doing this thing that I know I could do, or should do, but I’m just going to put it on my someday list. I’ll do it one day.”
For all of these reasons, it didn’t happened in 2010. At the end of 2010, I hadn’t done it and I came to write my goals for 2011 and actually found this in another notebook. There at the top of my list of goals for 2011 was start a podcast. Of course, 2011 came around and life got even busier. We had a new baby, our third boy in the house. The fear was still there, the excuses remained, I didn’t do it. The cycle of procrastination really set in. Of course at the top of my list of goals for 2012 was start a podcast. I didn’t do it. At the top of my list of goals for 2013, 2014, 2015 was start a podcast. I didn’t tell anyone and I allowed my business, my fear, my excuses, to let it slip off my things that I would do in those years. I continued to put it on my someday list.
Last year, 2015, I went to a conference in the Philippines. It was Chris Dhaka’s conference, Tropical Think Tank. It was the 13th of May that I arrived at this conference. I was late to the event because the first day of the event I think was Mother’s Day and I wanted to be home for that, Mother’s Day here in Australia. I got to the event a little bit late. It was actually, I think from memory, the second last day of the event.
This is kind of my worst nightmare as an introvert because everyone already knew each other, they had shared experiences of a couple of days of the conference together and I was walking to this event cold not really knowing too many people at all. The night I arrived, there was a networking party going on. There was a lot of drinks and lots of people having fun. There I was feeling a bit nervous and very, very jetlagged. I just spent over 24 hours on planes to get to the Philippines.
I had met a couple of people but I didn’t know too many people. I walked into this party and I met a few people but one of them did something that really jumped out at me and helped me to integrate into the party. She asked me if I would partner her in a game of billards. The person who did it was Lane, Lane Kennedy.
It was one of those billards games where it goes on forever because no one was really that great a player. Sorry Lane and the others we’re playing with and probably because we were drinking as well but it was a fun game. It went on for over an hour. We basically just hit balls around the table for a while but it did give us a really good chance to start to get to know each other and to chat.
At one point during the game, Lane turned to me and she said what are your goals for 2015? Remember, I was completely jetlagged and by this stage probably had a couple of beers and was feeling a little light leaded. I just said the first thing that came to my mind. It was the thing that I’d had on my goals list for four or five years now and had never really told anyone. I said to her, “I’m going to start a podcast. By the end of the year, I want to start this podcast.” She began to ask a few questions about that and expressed some enthusiasm toward it and said, “Yes, that would be good. I would listen to that.”
I don’t know whether she was just saying it to give small talk but it was enough encouragement that I began to get a bit more excited about it. I began to tell her that I was going to launch this podcast with 31 episodes in 31 days. It was an idea that just came to me in that conversation. I was going to base it on my ebook 31 Days To Build A Better Blog. Again she was enthusiastic about it, she went and played another shot and then she came back to me.
She said something that I to this day see as a real gift. She gave me a gift by asking me a very simple question. Her question was this, these exact words, “When are you going to do it by?” That question I think is the reason I launched my podcast.
I was jetlagged, couple of beers in me, and at the top my head I said, “I’m going to launch it by the first of July.” I didn’t really put much thought into that date at all and in hindsight it was a crazy date to say because it was six weeks after that point.I had just told her that I was going to launch his podcast with 31 episodes in 31 days and anyone who has launched a podcast knows that that is crazy. I also realized a day later that most of my team were involved in other projects and they wouldn’t be able to help me that much in setting this podcast up. I needed to learn how to set up a podcast, I needed to learn to edit a podcast, how to record a podcast, and the equipment I needed and all of these things. But it was the best thing that I ever did to set myself that deadline. By me telling someone I was going to do it and putting a date on it is the reason I got it done.
I’m not even sure if Lane remembered the date that I’d said or if that conversation even had much of an impact upon her but it was something that I remembered and I was motivated by. Lane didn’t keep me accountable, she didn’t actually ring me up and say it’s almost the first of July, have you got it done? Simply by me knowing that I’d expressed that to another person, I get myself a deadline and I killed the cycle of procrastination.
I’m happy to report that on the first of July last year, I launched the podcast. Over the next 31 days, I actually launched it with 32 episodes and it was one of the best things that I ever did. Starting this podcast has been fantastic. We’ve almost hit 1.9 million downloads which is great but more importantly to me, it’s opened up all kinds of opportunities and conversations with my readers and my listeners.
Podcasting is such a personal medium. I’m getting emails from people everyday who are saying things like, “I feel like I’m having conversations with you.” People who feel like they know me in deeper ways. I’m meeting people at conferences who are very familiar with me and it’s only because they are listening to the podcast each week. It’s such a personal and conversational medium. What other medium allows you to whisper directly into someone’s ear each week?
Last week alone, we had one episode that was listened to 10,000 times. It was a 20-minute episode. When you add that up, that’s 3,333 hours of people listening to my voice and that has a massive impact. I’m so glad that I ended that cycle of procrastination and I’m so grateful that Lane asked me that question, “When are you going to do it by?”
Here’s my question for you today, what do you have on your someday list? What have you been procrastinating on? What have you been avoiding?
This time last year in episode 66 of this podcast. I started a whole series of podcast where I issued you with a challenge to get things off your someday list. If you have been listening for about a year now, you will remember that series, it was ten things that I encourage you to consider getting off your someday list.
I particularly encouraged you back in episode 66 to focus upon things that you’ve been procrastinating about but also things that you could do once that could have ongoing benefits for your blog. I think from memory I talked about creating products for your blog, I talked about email and starting an email list of building engagement on your email list by using autoresponders. I talked about design, that’s one thing many people procrastinate on, redesigning their blog. I talked about optimizing your use of social media. I talked about creating a resource page for you blog. I talked about mapping out a monetization strategy and creating an editorial calendar.
There were 9 or 10 things in that series that I said that you can do today that are going to have ongoing benefits from your blog and there were things that I saw a lot of bloggers procrastinating on. The list could go on and on. That’s just 9 or 10 things and one of the things that I loved about that series was many of you took the challenge but you did something else.
I had people emailing me and saying the thing that you got off your someday list were things like starting a blog, creating an avatar for your audience, diversifying your income streams by adding a new income stream, running a challenge for your readers, moving to your own domain or server, getting off Blogspot onto WordPress. Someone else reported during SEO on their blog and giving their blog an SEO audit. Someone else said that they actually started a podcast as a result of that challenge. Someone else said that they started to experiment with Facebook Live. The list could go on and on, there are many things that we as bloggers procrastinate on and only you really know what’s on that someday list.
But today, I want to challenge you to do one thing that you’ve been avoiding and only you know what it is. I really want you to do three things with that one thing. First, I want you to tell someone about it. I want you to tell someone in your real life what that thing is that you’ve been procrastinating on. Do what I did with Lane and actually name the thing that you want to get done. It’s so powerful to have that little moment of accountability.
You can tell somebody in your real life but also want to encourage you to come over to our Facebook group, the challenge group that we’ve got running. Tell us there what’s the one thing you’re going to do. Number two, here’s the gift I’m giving you now. Put a date on it. Tell us when you’re going to do it by and tell that person that you’re telling as well. Tell someone about what you want to do and put a date on it and then get to work. I want you to come back and report when you’ve done it as well in the Facebook group.
Pay particular attention when you’re choosing the thing that you’re going to do to things that you can do once that have ongoing benefits and I want to share a quick story of something that I did in that regard, but also pay attention to the things that you’ve been avoiding. Like my mom said, “Your life will be better if you do the things, take action on the things that you avoid.”
If you’ve been avoiding something and it’s still in your mind, it’s probably an important thing. It’s probably something that you really should do. Also, pay attention particularly to the things that you’ve got a bit of fear about. As I’ve said in previous episodes, fear is a signal that something important is going to happen. Pay attention to things you’ve got fear about, the things you’ve been avoiding, and the things that have ongoing benefits.
Let me finish with one other story that shows my amazing abilities as a procrastinator but also shows what you can do with this challenge. Late last year, as a result of this very series that I just talked about, The Today Not Someday series of podcast, I was feeling so motivated by the things that I saw you as listeners doing. I decided to take the challenge myself. I made a list of things that I’ve been avoiding doing. I made this list of things that I’ve been saying, “Yeah, I’ll do that one day.”
Some of the things were really big like redesigning ProBlogger. That actually took me 6 months to get that off my list. We did a lot of work on that this year and that was probably the biggest thing on my list, redesigning ProBlogger. The other things I noticed about creating that someday list was that many of the things was really small things. One of the things at the top of my list was to write a new piece of content for ProBlogger. It was actually a piece of content that I thought about writing way back when I started ProBlogger in 2004.
I started ProBlogger back in 2004 because I wanted to read a blog about blogging and how to make money blogging but no one was writing that blog at the time. I remember as I started that blog, brainstorming ideas for topics, for that blog, and I came up with all of the normal things that you would expect. How to find readers for the blog, how to monetize a blog, how to write great content for your blog. At the top of that brainstorm list that I came up with was the idea for a post called how to start a blog.
That’s probably the most logical idea for a blog about blogging. You would expect to have a post called how to start a blog and you’d expect it to be one of the first posts that you’d write. I had excuses for writing that post and I procrastinated on it. I had all these little voices going through my mind and most of the voices centered around the fear that I had around that post. The little voices said things like you’re not technical enough to write that post.
I had at that point already started a number of blogs. I knew how to start a blog but I had this little voice at the back of my head that said, “You’re not technical enough. What if you make a mistake in that post? No one will believe anything else you say. You need to research more, you need to get some advice on that.” All of these little voices made this thing a bigger thing than it needed to be. I put it on my someday list.
At first, I probably thought to myself I’ll do that in a couple of weeks or next month or maybe in 2005 but gradually it slipped off my list. If you go through the archives of ProBlogger, you’ll see that I’ve never written a post on how to start a blog in the first 10 or 11 years of ProBlogger. We’ve published over 8,000 posts. Whilst we’ve had a few other people write posts similar to that and talking about starting a blog, I’d never written that post and it was missing. I used to have readers email me and say, “Hey, I’m sure you’ve written on this topic. Can you point me to the article on how to start a blog?” I would point them to other people’s articles either in our archives or other people’s blogs.
I began to feel guilty about doing that. I would actually lie in bed at times and think to myself, I really should write this post. I had guilt, I had this kind of tension within me that said I should write it but the voices continue to say, “You’re not technical enough.”
Last year, end of last year when I created this list of things that I knew that I’ve been procrastinating on, this was at the top of my list, write a post on how to start a blog, and I did it. It took me three and a half-hours to write the post and as soon as I started to write it, I knew that I built this thing up to be bigger than it was. My excuses began to melt away because I instantly, as soon as I started writing it, realized that of course I knew how to write this post. Of course I had the ability to do it. I’d started 30 blogs over the years and of course I could write this post and so I wrote the post and got it out there. The results were immediate.
Firstly, I knew I’d created some useful piece of content and so I started to share it. I knew this piece of content was going to help people step by step. Five Steps To Starting A Blog, I’ll link to it in the show notes today. As a result of me feeling confident about this piece of content, I began to share it. I began to share it on social media, and I if you go to any post on the blog at ProBlogger you’ll see in the sidebar we link to it. It’s linked to on our Start Here page. It’s something that I talk about in conferences, I talk to people in conversations. I link to it a lot and as a result it gets traffic.
It’s not ranking number in Google but we’re starting to see some search traffic from it as well. As a result of all this traffic, it’s starting to be one of the most read posts on ProBlogger. This post has a few affiliate links in it, we link to some server providers, we link to some WordPress templates, we link to where you can get a domain name. As a result, every single day I get emails from our affiliate partners saying “You’ve earned money as a result of this post.” We also, at the end of this post, link to one of our ebooks, What To Do In Your First Week Of Blogging. It’s a natural flow once you started a blog, you want to know what to do in your first week. Every day we see ebook sales as a result of this post.
This post in September earned almost $8,000 which I think is just remarkable. One post made that much of money months and months after I released it as a result of all that traffic. When I saw that figure, I had two simultaneous reactions. On one hand, I was ecstatic, $8,000, that’s close to $10,000 Australian. Over a year, it has the potential to make over $100,000. That’s amazing, a single post making that much money, I was ecstatic.
But then I had this simultaneous realization that I could have written this post in 2004, 12 years ago, this post by now could potentially have been a million dollar post. Why didn’t I do earlier? I had regret and this is one of the things us as procrastinators have to realize that we’re going to live with. We’re going to live with regret and there are many stories in my blogging career like this one; excitement simultaneously coming with regret. Why didn’t I do it earlier?
This why I want to talk about this today because I don’t want you to have that regret. I want you to do the things that you know you could do, that you know you should do, that you know that will benefit your blog.
There has been some great things about this, there’s been some regret as well. This post drives traffic around our blog, the secondary page views because we linked to further reading. This post has led to me getting a lot of emails from very happy readers who are proudly showing off their new blogs.
The other great thing about doing this and knocking it off my someday list is that there’s a relief associated with it. I don’t have to lie there in bed at night and think, “I really should write that post.” I don’t have to send people away from my blog anymore to get this kind of information, it’s there and there’s relief associated with that.
What do you need to do? What do you need to knock off your someday list? Something that is going to have ongoing benefits from your blog potentially. Something that you’ve been avoiding, something that you’ve been procrastinating on. What is it? Only you really know what it is but today I want to challenge you to face the fear, face the fact that you’ve been avoiding this thing and get it done to stop the cycle of procrastination. Identify what it’s going to be, tell someone about it, come to our Facebook group. Tell us what it is and when you’re going to do it by and then come back and report. Celebrate with us.
I cannot wait to see what collectively we get done as a result of this podcast. I really do look forward to that and so I encourage you. You can do it in the show notes, leave a comment at problogger.com/podcast/167 or search in Facebook for the ProBlogger challenge group and share with us your thing there. I will set up a thread dedicated to this episode where you can share the things that you’re going to get done and I look forward to celebrating those things and maybe helping out in any way that I can with you to get some of these things done as well.
I hope that somewhere in the midst of my stories today, you have felt that you’re not the only one perhaps who procrastinates but also found some motivation to getting things done. Thanks for listening, I look forward to hearing from you as a result of this challenge.
If you are a procrastinator and you’re sort of wondering what you should choose to get done as a result of today’s challenge, you might want to go back and take a look at Episode 66 of this podcast where I do I introduce that Today Not Someday Series. If you are wondering what you should do, there are 9 or 10 episode straight after episode 66 where I do talk about 9 or 10 different things that I do see a lot of bloggers procrastinating on. You might want to go and have a look on the show notes there and choose one of those episodes. That might give you some ideas to participate in this challenge. Again, look forward to chatting with you further about this idea, chat soon.
How did you go with today’s episode?
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The post PB167: My Million Dollar Blog Post? (and How Procrastination Almost Stopped me Writing It) appeared first on ProBlogger Podcast.
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