Gosh I’m slow. Everything seems to take ages. It even took me over two months to decide to publish a fully formed blog post on here. In fact, this post has been sitting half finished for over a month.
I was always very concerned with productivity in my previous affiliate incarnation. To say I was driven was a bit of an understatement. I often worked stupid hours, and was always deeply concerned with honing my productivity. Not that I’d have admitted it then, but the reason for that is that I have awful concentration. If I was paying myself a wage I’d probably have to sack me. I’m also a dreadful perfectionist so I can barely tolerate my own flaws and analyse my failings on a micro level at every turn.
In light of this, and in response to a Google induced heart attack right after one of my extended periods of travel I came up with this little gem of a system: –
Looks innocuous enough. I simply said I was going to work 8.30 to 4pm every day with an hour off for lunch. And then I was going to knock a day off my working week. Sweet eh?
What I *didn’t* admit there was what I required myself to actually do in that time. If I didn’t meet my own targets I’d be so upset I couldn’t sleep. Working in a factory in Bangladesh? Not quite. But I think my supervisor took tips off sweatshop factory bosses.
Here’s what a day looked like:-
8.30 – 9 Affiliate stats and alterations to the work plan created after dinner the night before.
9 – 10 – Write 4 x 250 word articles for site A with images, links, and HTML formatting in place. Publish them.
10 – 12 Create PPC campaign for merchant X, upload it.
12 – 1 Lunch
1 – 2 Write 4 x 250 word articles for site B – as above.
2 – 3 Write 4 x 250 word articles for site C – as above.
3 – 4 Website structure planning and alterations for site D
4pm – nip out to garden to have a cry and try to turn the brain off.
It was like being chased by a rabid horde of cannibalistic maniacs. I felt hunted the entire day.
It Worked, Though
Sadly, I no longer have the graphs to show the insane increase in traffic and income I actually achieved from this. However, upon reflection I believe that whilst the system worked I robbed myself of crucual “thinking time” and got myself so fed up I employed a copywriter, which removed that element of quality from my business that only I can provide. It became a purely mechanical process rather than the creative one I probably should have followed. But… it *did* work at the time, and I quickly built lots of revenue streams. So when returning to work this year, I inevitably felt I should probably come up with a similar system to get me started.
The Problem Is…
That I now have two young children, and the day around this level of frantic activity is quite different. Previously, I could get up at 8 and grab breakfast to eat at my desk. Now, my day starts at anything from 5am onwards and involves myself and Duncan having to feed a rabid horde of Mongolian terror tots (all two of them), wash and dress them, rush a mile up a hill to nursery with an often unwilling three year old, then return home to start work. At 4pm it’s time to feed the same rabid horde who are now considerably more cross and 1000% less co-operative, then wash them, and put them to bed without any of us having a tantrum.
I’m also often working with the children in the house. They break into the office, or start a miniature version of WW3 in the bathroom nearby and it shatters my concentration. Especially when I get roped into the provision of a quick cuddle or a sandwich. In an example from this very day, I had an office visit from a 3 year old who had tried to travel home face first. Her nose was bleeding, her face and knees were covered in grazes, and she promptly relieved herself on my office floor as soon as she entered the room (I’d have done the same if I’d had to be scraped off the tarmac by a passing postman to be honest).
Despite this, I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few months criticising myself quite heavily for not being able to create a similar structure and get going with it. Frankly though, I start every working day already feeling tired. I plop into my office chair with a muttered “thank f**k” and grab a coffee to try and wake up as the nervous energy pours off me. Can I see myself starting a day of furiously paced, strictly defined work at that point?
Coming To Terms With A Less Driven Self
Very recently, I’ve started to be less concerned about my relatively formless days. I have detailed lists of tasks I want to do, broken down by merchant, or site, or genre. I have lists of things I’d like to find out more about. If I find myself indulging in contemplation of my naval, I refer to those. Or sometimes, I just allow the naval contemplation to rampage unchecked and let my brain float around to see if it does anything interesting.
And it works. It’s not fast, it’s not the old days where I could pull a few grand out of thin air within 6 weeks… but there’s no stress and my sales are slowly rising. In fact, it has been the increase in commissions flowing towards me that has made me realise I don’t need to work like a woman possessed to make real and concrete progress.
Slow Build For Long Term?
I feel now like my strategies to earn money are more reasoned, more realistic, and I expect that sometimes things will go wrong. My biggest failing in my previous life was that my self-esteem was wrapped up in numbers and their growth (nothing other than insane acceptable), and that’s not a good place to work from. It’s an unhealthy driver, particularly at times when things go wrong.
Hopefully I’m shedding my unrealistic expectations, I’m certainly accepting a slower less insane build. Which will hopefully result in revenue streams that won’t suffer from any insane falls.
Good luck with that Kirsty, hey?