This is a very common problem among students, online marketers and in general, all entrepreneurs. So let's look a little further into why we feel a sense of being overwhelmed and what to do about it. Tim Ferris has some interesting ideas on this topic:
In fact, it is a common problem for me as well. It really easy to get excited about every little idea you come up with and the next thing you know, you are overwhelmed.
I run into this problem myself as I said, and it can be a huge time suck and downright counterproductive!
- Find yourself reading more blogs than spending time developing your own?
- Tweet all day? (Well, remember that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers)
- Facebook all day?
- Open a new website every time an idea pops up? (I am bad at this one!)
- Comment more than you write?
- Try to find ways to “shortcut” the system?
- Spend too much time checking emails?
- Spend too much time in analytics?
- Respond to EVERY comment on your blog?
- Have 10+ tabs open in your browser at any given moment?
- Have 5+ apps running on your computer?
These are just some of the issues I have dealt with (and still do sometimes). I'm working from home and I also really had to cultivate my phone skills. Every one of the items I listed is a common problem I have found most bloggers deal with at one point or another.
I want to address a few of them individually:
Read More Than You Write:
I honestly believe we go through stages of our online careers, and at the beginning reading, researching, and learning is a very important part of becoming successful.
The question is, do you know how to balance it? It is really easy to become wrapped up in your Google Reader (I use Google) and reading 50+ blogs a day. Most of the time you will find the same shit regurgitated though, it just isn’t easy to recognize it all the time.
I recently cleaned out my reader. I eliminated a lot of worthless reading. I have been trying to keep new and fresh blood in my reader (that’s another post entirely). The point is, be careful you don’t end up reading other blogs all the time and not pay any attention to your own development.
Tweet and/or Facebook All Day:
This is definitely an easy one to get wrapped up in, especially with smartphones and such. I currently use Tweetdeck on my desktop to manage most of my tweeting and some of my Facebook stuff.
I am really liking Chrome apps such as Tweetdeck; it allows more Facebook options than any other app I have used (including posting and commenting in groups like this one for online marketers) and is a web app instead of a resource hogging desktop app.
Anyway, back to my point, if you don’t block time to do your social media and networking, it could take up way too much of your time. I spend a little time early in the morning (around 5 or 6 a.m.) checking a few things and tweeting a little, then maybe again in the early afternoon (around 3 pm) most days. I do spend a little more time on Thursdays and Fridays but most days I stick to that schedule.
Make a schedule if you find yourself too active on Twitter or Facebook.
Too Many Websites/Ideas:
This is a big one for me, I am way too quick to start a new project! I probably have at least half a dozen unfinished ones right now!
What I have been trying to do this year is concentrating on only a couple of my best projects at a time. Right now I have 2 main niche sites I am working on, this blog, and I may work on another sports-related blog just as a hobby with a friend. That’s it.
As my niche sites get where I want them with content and rankings, I will add more. But not before I have pointed your attention towards federal college scholarships for minorities and women, great resources to help you get ahead but be careful you don’t start a new website every time you have an idea.
Comment More Than You Write:
This one may or may not be a problem for you, but it can easily become one. I am a firm believer in commenting to network and get noticed (it works if you write great content in your comments). But you have to be careful not to spend all day commenting and this is especially true for those of you still at school. Teachers are increasingly worried about students online networking in the classroom.
And please, please please stop looking for do follow blogs to comment on, it really doesn’t matter and you are probably watering down the comment as you slobber on a do follow link that may not even help your site. This leads right into the next one:
Try To Shortcut the System:
There is no “auto-pilot for building a quality online business. So, stay away from scams that say they will teach you how to do just that. I have probably tried all of them, and they don’t work. If you, the blogger, still need to go to college, make sure you'll find the best college and that you complete your studies fast so you can concentrate on building up your business soon. But you really need your college degree!
I even bought an “auto blog” plugin that pulled articles from syndication sites and posted them on sites automatically…. got nowhere with it after several hundred posts. There are no real shortcuts, it takes hard work, dedication, and sacrifice to make it.
Too Much Time in Emails:
This is a tough one for me because a lot of my money comes from those emails, but it can wait, I promise. Close down your email app, Gmail tab, whatever you use to track emails. It will help you be more productive and check out also how peer-to-peer marketing may help you succeed.
Generally, I do the same with emails as I do with Twitter and Facebook, early morning and late afternoon are the only times I check them unless I am expecting something like a response from a client or a response from someone I hired to perform a task for me.
This is another huge time suck. And go ahead and include Adsense or whatever ads or affiliates you use to this one. No, you don’t need to check those things daily.
I admit I check Adsense daily right now (5 days a week), but only because I am tracking very specific metrics with my niche sites. I only check my analytics weekly, if even then. All those stats will not get you anywhere right now but maybe Game Design School is your cup of tea. Worry about those stats later, especially if you are just starting out, there isn’t anything to look at…. move along.
Responding To Comments:
This is another one that is widely debated. I try to respond to most comments on this site. After the post is a couple of weeks old, I usually stop responding. (Thanks to a plugin called “Tweet Old Post” I get traffic on my older posts all the time). Read also this post if you want to find a good website builder for your efforts.
Honestly, all comments don’t warrant a response, do they? Especially comments like:
Hey great post, and thanks for including me in your list here! I am honored.
Really, what can you say back to that “Your Welcome”?
The point is, if you aren’t careful you will end up spending more time in comments than you do in development, and that will hurt your progress. I am not saying don’t respond, but just be mindful of the amount of time you spend.
Too Many Tabs/Apps Open:
This is another big one for me. Right now as I write this I have 5 tabs open in Firefox, 2 in Chrome (Facebook and Twitter apps), Outlook for email, and Pandora for tunes (I have the premium Pandora version which gives you a desktop app).
A few minutes ago I also ad Photoshop and Dreamweaver open (I just got CS5 Master Collection upgraded from CS4 and was playing around a little with the new apps).
That is probably too much open at once and can easily become a distraction and have less production.
So, I just closed Facebook, Outlook, and 3 tabs on my browsers, hoping to get this post completed in the next few minutes so I can move on to other tasks.