Categories
Affiliate Mindset

Dealing With Mental Load & Distraction

The title of this post should be “not dealing with mental load & distraction”. I’m terrible at it.

When I’m focused on work, it’s like everything outside my bubble of creativity fades to shades of grey. It’s all consuming, addictive, and the source of my passion for affiliate marketing. I vanish into it. When I occupy this laser focused space, my mind is calm and I feel in control. It’s not a space I often occupy in my day to day life.

She Travels At Speeds of 1,000 Thoughts Per Hour

I’ve got the most shocking concentration of anyone I have ever met. If I was a superhero, and I had a catch phrase… it’d be “… oh LOOK!! A Squirrel!” It’s an exhausting way for a mind to operate. When I’m absorbed in my work, it’s an amazing break. From myself.

Over the years I’ve developed a “grounding routine” as I get ready to come into the office. First, I remove possible distractions to productivity. I spend 30 minutes tidying and hoovering the main living area of my house. I walk through it multiple times a day, and if it’s messy it affects my focus. Then I perform the daily ritual that removes residual mental noise. I make a coffee, and I concentrate on making it properly. The process of grinding the beans, pulling the shot, and texturing the milk pushes away mental disorganisation. Myself and my beautiful coffee head to the office and look things over, examining yesterday, planning for today.

Oh Heck Yes, This is The Sweet Spot Alright. Ahhhh….

So there I am… laser focused in the zone affiliate marketing woman, with superpowers fully engaged. Faint in amazement as I zoom through an infinite universe of money making ideas with ease. Gasp in admiration as I effortlessly fashion vast lists of hitherto untapped traffic bearing longtail key…

“MUMMA!!”

…word… and… “WHAT THE ACTUAL??”

*sigh* “OK, I’ll print you off another colour in sheet. Is that everything? Good! Now let me just see what…

… Ah yes! Weaving my PPC magic, instinctively finding the right product groupings to scale and replicate and…

*Distant Sounds of Bedlam*

… “I’ll just go and check out those competitor sites now and see… OH MY DEAR LORD WHAT NOW! Who has coloured this carpet in blue? Where’s your Dad gone?! No, stop crying. What? I don’t care who it was, I’m blaming both of you!”

Ad Infinitum

That’s two real life examples that would have taken place in the space of 15 minutes. Every time I’m interrupted, it’s harder for me to get back into that blissful state of concentration. I get very, very frustrated when a train of thought is interrupted, I always have done (sorry, former work colleagues). The more frustrated I get, the more I focus on the fact I’m about to get interrupted again. In the end, I’m sitting attempting to work through gritted teeth. Where’s that zone gone? It’s the Twilight Zone we’re in now!

The Guru is Out

This situation right here. This is where my TED talk takes a turn in a successward direction! This is where I reveal all, my secret formula to doing it all and being a success in entreprenership as well as a flawlessly engaged Mother.

To quote my good friends in Queensland, “Yeah, Nah Mate”. I can’t do that. I love my children. And what have I realised?

I won’t get this time back. There’s no point in sitting stressing because I’m not able to maintain my focus when they’re around. I end up giving myself a hard time about all the work I’m not getting done, then I feel I have to keep trying to get something done, anything, because I’m not deserving of any time off on the grounds of unproductivity. Honestly, who actually could work with kids running into the office every 10 minutes or so with a new request?

So that’s why last year, about two weeks in to summer holidays and with my Mother in Law also living with us for a few weeks I leapt up from my office chair and yelled…

Oh sod all this!!

And spent the rest of the summer avoiding work like the plague. The anxiety I was causing myself was unbelieveable, my ability for self flagellation when I can’t get into the zone is infinite. So I lost my temper and refused to engage with it. I spent huge amounts of time taming my garden. Me and the kids weeded, planted, watered, and played.

Guess what? The business continued to pay me a wage without me worrying about it (although I still had my morning coffee and monitoring sesh). It was still there when summer holidays finished, and I had a terrific holiday with the kids.

Summer Break is Upon Us Once More…

So it’s holiday time again here in Scotland. But this year, I’m going to try and do things a little differently as I have a few projects half finished that I want to keep pushing along a little. I’ve asked the hubster to try *really hard* to organise his clients for the afternoons, leaving most mornings free for me to spend in the office. I’m not going to try to do anything complex, but I am going to keep up my PPC Challenge as I’ve enjoyed watching the revenue from this experiment grow and want to keep up the momentum. I’m also going to try and use the time to brief up some outsourcing on things I’ve been putting off. Oh, and hopefully I’ll do a little bit more work on this blog.

Anyhoo, the kids have been in the office about 105 times this morning (hubster had a date with 3 tons of topsoil and a wheelbarrow), and I wrote most of this post when they were away having fun with the Grandparents. I’ll keep on trying to find ways to combine work and family. Most importantly, I’ll forgive myself when I fail and keep trying new ways to find that balance!

Categories
Productivity

Affiliate Marketing – How Focused Are You?

What a stupid question. VERY. I AM VERY FOCUSED. I want nothing more than to improve my affiliate income or create one… oh look, a BUTTERFLY! *cough*

For people starting out, or for people like me returning to a full time career after a hiatus, the most important thing we need to get right is focus. The painful truth about affiliate marketing (or the absolute delight in my opinion) is that there’s not a prescribed method. There’s not a manual, or a job description, or a definitive list for success.

The mental challenges of the job go beyond working out the increasingly complex nuances of how you create revenue bearing traffic, and into developing the headspace that will keep pushing you towards those goals efficiently.

There is real adversity involved in being an affiliate. Not just in the process of “getting there”, for the reality is that most long term affiliates (like me!) have to achieve success repeatedly. It’s like any other business essentially, but it does seem to suffer from an effortless image. Propagated for the most part by sellers of snake oil.

Forewarned is Forearmed, so here’s a collection of the more obvious challenges of focus we face routinely at the cutting edge of weaving the old internet magic 😉

Too Much Focus

It can be all consuming. It’s so easy to spend every single spare second you have on affiliate marketing. After all, the more you work the sooner you get to those goals, right? Well, maybe not. Affiliate burnout beckons. If you don’t take that much needed R&R time you’ll often be sitting there at 1am achieving nothing without realising it. Checking stats, daydreaming, facebook, forums. NOT WORK!! Also, the excitement will quickly wane and turn to boredom. It’s so easy to give up on something because you’ve burned out your enthusiasm.

I recently had to pull some horrendous 12 hour days to get a time task done. Subsequently it took me 2 days to complete 1 days worth of tasks. Then it was another week before I slid back into a more usual rhythm of work I could identify as productive. I knew to expect this, but that time I needed to get a job done and fast to prepare for an upcoming Google change (more about those later!)

Spend fewer hours in front of the PC, make the time you do work count, start to develop an understanding of what’s a reasonable amount of work to get done in a “shift”. You, your business, and your personal relationships will be healthier for it. Trust me.

Stay focused. Proportionately.

Short Lived Focus

Instant gratification – there is none. It can take weeks or months for your hard work to start to really pay off. It’s way easy to take your foot off the pedal after a few weeks when you have barely earned the price of a beer after eye-bleedingly hard work. Self doubt creeps in, motivation drops. It’s incredibly hard to keep your eyes on the prize. I suffer on and off from this. Generally speaking I’ll have a period where commissions are sluggish, or some other adversity has crept in and I find it very hard to keep putting in the effort. Subsequently, everything rights itself, or a bit of work I did months ago blazes into life and I feel like a right old tit for having let myself become demotivated. I should know better.

These days, this is particularly true when trying your hand at capturing organic traffic. It’s very much a two steps forward three (hundred!) steps back endeavour at times. You can lose months or even years of work in an update. It is devastating. But you can’t look at what you lost, rather at what you kept. Because it’s there that the old phoenix will probably rise once more. You need to be an eternal optimist to be a successful affiliate. In the face of something that doesn’t seem to not be working, but also seems to be going backwards… you must persevere. And that’s a special kind of determination that requires you to be convinced that what you are doing is ultimately going to work. Well? Are you convinced? Really? Or does that Game of Thrones box set and a few beers look like a more productive weekend?

Stay focused. On your core strategy. More about phoenix stuff another time. When my own focus has improved enough to write cogently about it.

The Wrong Focus

Yes! You’ve made it!! You created that site and you can see a small but promising revenue stream. You get very excited. At this point it’s very common for distraction to set in. The imagination goes into overdrive. You spend several days working out how much more money you would make if you increased your traffic tenfold. You plan a network of related sites, for surely retirement to a sunny spot of your choosing is beckoning? Focus is lost, many domains are bought without due care and attention, several half started project are spawned.

Losing focus is one of the most toxic problems for would be affiliate marketers. There’s nobody there to tell us how to do this. We DO tend to be dreamers who aspire to greater things. Sadly that makes us prone to fantasy empire building with predictable results.

Stay focused. On the success you’ve already achieved.

Retaining focus is something I struggle with a lot. So this stuff… well lets just say I didn’t pull all the faults I’m claiming you have out of thin air. Keep pushing on and you’ll make progress. Simple concept. Often impossible to execute.

Good luck 🙂