Hello again this is Kevin O’Shaughnessy from ZombieCodeKill. Here are four mistakes that I’ve made in the past and how you can avoid them:
1. Spending more time on social media than on your blog
All of the following are true about social media:
- Social media is an important tool for building up your network.
- In general, the more time you spend on social media the more followers you will get.
- Far more developers are connected to social media than even the word’s most successful blogs.
- It’s easy to interact with and learn from other developers on social media
So it can seem like a good habit to develop, but it’s risky. Social media can gradually take up more and more of your time without you realizing. In general, you don’t own or control the content that you produce, and it is typically buried by mountains of other content in next to no time. Conversations over social media also tend to be very simplified as everyone there has developed the habit of being as brief as possible.
You must be very disciplined about the amount of time that you spend on social media because it is all time taken away from more important things. Unless you actually work for a social media company, it’s highly unlikely that spending all day on it is going to help you.
I recently estimated how much time I was spending each week – 20 minutes per day = 140 minutes per week. That’s over 10 hours each month, and I realized much of this time could be better utilized for more productive work such as blogging.
“What gets measured gets managed” – Peter Drucker
I recently did a massive unfollowing task on Twitter based on a split second decision per individual. The simple formula I used is:
1. Are they following me back? If so, don’t unfollow.
2. Is there a known essential reason to be following this person? If not, unfollow them
This enabled me to unfollow almost 1500 people within under 30 minutes. Rather than missing out on important information from these people, it allows me to read and potentially reply to a much greater proportion of the Tweets from everyone else.
Social media must be thought of as a communication tool, just like e-mail. You can be much more productive by checking it on a pre-defined schedule rather than throughout the day.
2. Keeping your blog GOING instead of keeping your blog GROWING
Chances are, you should be blogging more often. No doubt you have a lot of other things to achieve as well, but don’t allow the frequency or quality of your posts to slip.
The amount of traffic a blog gets is roughly the product of the following:
- Frequency of blog posts
- Quality of blog posts
- User interactions to help build community
- Blog Age
It can be difficult to think of interesting topics to blog about and hard to find inspiration. A few months of blogging is relatively easy, but once all of your initial ideas are used up you might experience a sophomore slump.
There is a very simple answer to this: read more blogs! See what out other developers are talking about. Maybe you don’t agree with them. If so, write a blog explaining why you disagree. Maybe you entirely agree with them. If so, write a nice comment on their blog.
Encourage other bloggers to keep going with their blogging, it’s an effective way to make new friends. Help out bloggers who are just getting started. You’ll find you have good advice to offer them and they will be grateful. All of this will help keep you creative and foster your blogs growth.
3. Postponing Your Side Project
My side project has been delayed a couple days at a time over and over in favor of various other activities such as reading books and doing Pluralsight courses. The most deadly type of procrastination is rationalized procrastination. I was easily able to convince myself that I was not procrastinating because I just had some other things to do first. Being busy isn’t necessarily productive. Almost everyone is busy, but few people are genuinely productive.
I was doing valuable things, but not as valuable as production. Favor production over consumption. Active learning over passive learning.
If your side project frightens you, it might be too big. Break it down into weekly or daily goals, and chase your fears.
4. Sacrificing your fitness routine “for a while”
This is a very slippery slope. You’re unlikely to return to your old routine again until you start experiencing some significant problems associated with lack of exercise. For a while you’ll feel like it was a good decision because of the extra time it has given you. It will take awhile before you become aware of some of the negative effects of lack of exercise:
- Less stamina
- Less energy
- Less motivation
- Poorer sleep
- More lethargic
- Less happy
If you don’t have a fitness routine, I strongly recommend that you organize something. It doesn’t need to cost any money and doesn’t need to cost a lot of your time either. Just one hour a week can make a big difference. It doesn’t need to be painful either. If you look at the super rich CEOs, whether they are in IT or outside of it, you’ll mostly see that while they are all a long way from athletes, they have their own basic fitness routine in place and don’t allow themselves to get completely out of shape.