Time management has never been my strong suit. I could have written my college thesis on the art of procrastination, but probably would have just put it off. (Sorry, that was a bad joke – but you know what I mean!) I have no problem making a to-do list of everything I need to get done – it's in the follow-through that I struggle the most.
Even since I sat down to write this post, I couldn't get through the above paragraph without checking my email, refreshing my Hootsuite feed and messaging my roommate about what she wants to make for dinner tonight. That's 3 things in the span of 3 sentences. That's ridiculous, but can you relate?
The Internet is a truly distracting place, and it takes some serious determination to overcome the temptations of all the instant gratification at our fingertips. This goes for day-to-day tasks as well as the overall progress of our blogs. We have access to every, little, tiny detail, but obsessing over them can seriously detract from our accomplishments and successes.
Like weighing yourself too frequently in the midst of a diet or watching a pot and waiting for it to boil, these habits can drastically effect how productive your day is, or hinder you from understanding the bigger picture when it comes to your blog goals.
Constantly checking your email.
I am so, so guilty of this. I am meticulous about my unread emails, and can't stand unread emails. As soon as there's a (1) in front of my inbox I have to check it. I have realized this is a huge hindrance to my daily productivity. Of course it's necessary to respond to emails and keep up correspondence during the work day, but stopping my work flow every three minutes to see who has emailed me (and 50 percent of the time it's junk anyway) is unnecessary.
If you have a full-time job that requires you to be unfailingly available via email this might not be an option, but try scheduling time during the day that's specifically for correspondence. Maybe it's your lunch hour, maybe it's 30 minutes in the morning and the afternoon, or maybe force yourself to wait until that notification box is up to 5 or more unread messages.
The reality is that aside from the occasional *urgent* email, most things can wait. Finish your paragraph, finish your post, finish your sentence! Force yourself not to click away from your current task and remember this: other people might want your attention, but you need it. Your priorities and goals come first.
Compulsively refreshing your social media (Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram).
This productivity killer does double duty for providing unending distractions and encouraging a meticulous desire for validation. We want to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings, and now that it's possible to be in the know almost instantaneously, we feel like we have to be. And as soon as we contribute, we want to know if anyone cares, agrees, likes or loves it.
The urge to refresh, refresh, refresh is bad, bad, bad. It's fun to feel like you're in the loop, on the cusp of breaking news and checking to see how many people retweeted or favorited your tweet about Brad Pitt's new Chanel No. 5 commercial. However, when you're working on a deadline or trying to complete a project, you've got to let it go.
One solution? Make a separate browser window for all your “play” site tabs. That old adage about “out of site, out of mind” can really work. (That's what I did, and I only allow myself to check on them after completing a post or big to-do for the day.) Or, let your lunch hour be your time to scroll through your Tumblr dashboard, re-pin some images and catch up on Instagram.
Obsessing over your blog's daily statistics.
Caring about and monitoring your site's statistics is important to any professional or hobby blogger looking for growth and success. However, it's not necessarily healthy to keep tabs on how your post is faring multiple times during the day, or even multiple times per week.
When trying to understand your statistics, you're looking for patterns and trends in your readership and demographics. These clues manifest themselves over weeks and months, not hours. You'll likely drive yourself crazy trying to dissect the minutia of daily activity.