At ConvertKit I’m able to talk with hundreds of bloggers each month about their work, what makes them successful and what their struggles are. One of the most common struggles I see is the battle over tasks and time. Here’s what I mean:
Tasks: a thing you have to do.
Time: how long you have to do it.
What many people struggle with is misunderstanding the amount of time available for the tasks we’ve committed to. This is more than blogging, but throughout life. But we’re focused on blogging here, so let’s keep moving.
At ConvertKit, I see this happen when people are nearing the end of their first month. The email comes through and says,
I’m almost done with my first month and haven’t had time to setup or understand ConvertKit. Can you cancel my account?”
I have done the same thing with different products, either with setup or simply using the tool enough for the cost. But why didn’t I understand that at the beginning?
Because we underestimate the time available for the tasks we have. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated when we see the date looming, and we haven’t even touched on why it feels so frustrating in the first place.
I feel frustrated because I believed at the start that a particular tool was going to solve a problem for me, and I failed to give it the time necessary for it to work.
It’s like if I hired an assistant but never really told them what to do. I’d probably let them go, but just be mad at myself.
One of the things I’m solving at ConvertKit right now is making that initial experience so simple you can’t help but feel like you’re succeeding, but that’s another post.
The solution to task/time overwhelm
Now when I start to feel the creep of panic about whether or not I can complete the tasks in the time allotted, I have a rule to start with the basics.
I break the list down in to three primary sections:
– Technical: setting up a new tool or service.
– Creative: writing posts, sketching, creating videos.
– Admin: publishing content across sites, editing, etc.
For example, I recently signed up with Coach and am switching everything over from Gumroad and Thinkific. Coach is $29/month, which isn’t a huge amount but isn’t an expense I brush off. But it’s been 2 weeks and I haven’t switched everything. I’m beginning to feel “it”. Here’s my checklist to clearly see what tasks are involved.
With this checklist, I’m ready to get to work immediately on a specific task in the amount of time I have to work on it. The feeling of overwhelm and “all these things to do” is much easier to move past. I want to clarify there may still be a lot to do, but I know exactly what the tasks are. I don’t spend energy trying to decide which task is most important because that is mentally draining for me. I simply go to the list and begin.
Finally, understand which tasks are best suited for the energy you have at different times of the day. For me, mornings are best for the creative tasks, and I’ll take time at night for technical or administrative tasks. Understanding where and how your energy is best used is incredibly valuable, and something we’ll cover another day.
Can you do something for me? If this resonates with you, I’d love to hear your ideas. You can reply to this email, or find me as @MattRagland on Twitter and Instagram. I’d love to chat and see a picture of your own checklist.
Would you mind? Thank you!