True to my promise in last month’s results update I’ll keep future updates from my Rainmaker Marketing Journey short’n’sweet, starting with this one!
In this post, I’ll share how my content creation process got totally clogged up, leaving “almost there” blog posts unpublished!
But first, without further ado: what I hope to be my last month of horrendous metrics;)
My commentary? None really.
Why? Because apparently: I need to get to work!
Seriously – I really do need to get to work publishing content. I have plenty content in Ulysses, my favorite writing app for Mac. The bottleneck in my workflow is clearly the publishing stage. Why? I’m so inspired to write about stuff, that I start drafting new posts before the one’s I was working on has been published. After a while, the content creation process gets clogged up.
“the real cost – is the interruption”
The solution? To set, and respect, WIP / work-in-progress limits (a lean/kanban concept – I’m a kanban-boy). Problem is, once the content creation process has already been clogged up with “almost ready” blog posts (and other work): it’s hard to unclog. Prevention is better than fixing.
“freelance work is a quick fix”
Bottom-line: I have had, and still have; way way waaaay too much work-in-progress. Even though I’ve kept (and “fired” the rest) only a small handful of long-time web design / freelance customers – their work tends to get prioritized before other work, like wrapping up that blog post I was working on. Why?
1. Cashflow is king
I need to earn an income. That said, freelance work always leaves me feeling a bit… unfulfilled and… dumb. Unfulfilled because it’s usually work I’ve done so many times before, so I learn little new. Dumb (for lack of a better word) because I know full well, that freelance work is a quick fix. It’s money, aka cashflow, which is great – but – it’s non-recurring income. Once spent, it’s gone. Like sugar, freelance income is metabolized rapidly. What’s the alternative? Product creation (and marketing). A product you’ve created can be sold again and again to many different customers, thus increasing your ROI / time spent creating it.
2. Humans are hard to resist – when they pay
There’s a human being who needs that freelance work to get executed. Often asap. Their shop’s payment gateway may have stopped working – or there’s an opportunity they wanna get their site ready for. No matter the reason, good or bad, my problem or theirs; it’s just so much harder to say “no” to a human. Accountability skyrockets when you know there’s someone else who needs you to do your job, quickly.
3. I can finish this tomorrow
“It’ll only take me X hours to do”. While often true (as a freelancer since 2008 I’ve become great at estimating web design tasks) – the real cost is the interruption. So many times I’ve been totally into the writing and editing of a blog post, only to either be interrupted by something or someone. And that “someone” may even (often) be myself, in the form of thoughts like “going to bed early is healthy” or “I guess I’m a bit hungry. I should eat now – stable blood sugar is good” or “I’ve worked enough for today – I shouldn’t be a workaholic” – followed by the “logical” (but toxically hazardous) thought: “It only needs an hour or two more work, and it’ll be done. I can get back to it tomorrow.”
What. a. lie.
I don’t know about you (let me know in the comments) but I’ve SO often found myself thinking such thoughts, only to find myself not getting back to that task after eating, socializing or sleeping. What goes wrong? Other work comes up. And it’s not just a matter of “a lack of discipline”. Priorities shift from day to day, and “whaddya-knouw”? The next day your web server is down, your email client won’t send emails, a client needs your help, the bank calls, your dog poops on the floor, you feel sick, or something else demands your attention.
Before I began tracking my work (incl. content creation) on a kanban board (in Trello) I could easily forget all about a more-or-less finished draft blog post, after putting it aside “till tomorrow”. The result? Lots of unpublished blog posts.
But even after I began visualizing my workflow on a Trello kanban board; blog posts “go stale”. And that’s where those WIP / work-in-progress limits come in. I’ve never used them on my kanban boards. Or… that’s not true… I have used WIP’s – but not respected them. And I believe that’s why my content creation process is “totally… clogged up”.
Anyway… I gotta get back… to work!