First Things First

First Things First

I have been reading The Four Hour Work Week lately. It takes a while. I get a half hour in here and ten minutes there, but I will get through it. It has made me take a hard look at my habits.

A lot of my time is spent checking sales, checking stats, checking for comments on my blog and checking my email. I could make it a career. And sometimes I get stuck in a loop where that is all I do. I call it cycling. A little voice in my head tells me, "I'm cycling again." But it's mainly an observation. I still continue.

Instead of moving forward, I am looking at the results of the past over and over again. It's a lottery mentality. Maybe there will be a comment that makes my day. Maybe I will make a $1,000,000 sale. Maybe I just got 500 hits in a hour.

It's something I observed before reading the book, but the book basically gave me the freedom to recognize it for what it is.

I also do a lot of checking before I write my post in the morning. The same things can happen there. I could have a bad sales day and that will color what I write. I could have a bad comment and that could effect my words. I could have a hosting issue that is so important to fix right now when I just spent the last 24 hours away from the internet.

So today, I opened up Live Writer and started typing. No other software is running. "But what if I need a link or a picture?" That is the cycler. He wants to continue running around in loops. If I need a link or picture, I can wait until the writing is done.

I used to do the same with affiliate marketing. I would do a lot of busy work. Then I started blogging. That effectively trimmed my affiliate marketing down to about 8 hours a week, less than I had before. I fought this for a while. Blogging was making me nothing. Affiliate marketing paid the bills.

Then I noticed something. I had hit a plateau in sales for a couple of years. I kept trying to get more hours to do the work, but never really broke through to more sales. Since blogging has cut a chunk out of the time for my affiliate work though, my monthly sales have steadily increased to 166% of what they were during the last two years. By taking away some of it's time for blogging.

Sometimes all a book is supposed to do is give you the freedom to see the things right in front of your eyes. Now when this is posted, I may still have the same freak outs, the same emails and the same stats checking. But this post is done.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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