Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Twitter. I enjoy Facebook. And my RSS Reader is full of blogs that I read every day.
But they’re taking over my life. I’m using them as a crutch to avoid DOING anything productive.
Checking statuses, tweets, and blog posts have turned into a form of procrastination where I trick myself into thinking that I’m learning new things or keeping up on current events, when in fact, most of the stuff I’m clicking on and reading are ‘how to’ posts and strategy articles about things that I already know about and should be actively be DOING and not passively READING about.
I’m not trying to trash ANYONE’s posts, but with the amount of time I spend working on and thinking about digital media in my job, I don’t think I really need to read any more thoughts about ‘How To Write Killer Headlines,’ ’30 Tips For Creating Great Content,’ ‘5 Steps To Better Photos,‘ or ‘Insider Facebook Tips.’ And yet I STILL keep clicking on and reading these damn things. WHY? For the love of all that is good and holy… WHY?
Because it’s easier to read about it than to do it. ‘Doing it’ takes time. And thought. And commitment. And originality – not repeating the same thing everyone else is putting out there. It requires creating REAL value and that’s actually pretty hard!
I know that I should be writing more on this blog and putting more raw thinking time into new strategies for CBC’s digital music strategies and loads of other cool projects that would CREATE something instead reconfirming ideas and techniques that I’m already familiar with.
But taking action is really often really, really difficult. I had coffee today with someone who wanted to know how tough it was to start a WordPress blog – my answer was that making the blog and setting is up is a piece of cake. Keeping it updated and having quality, thoughtful, valuable content on it takes a LOT of time and a strong commitment to regular work. That’s why most people who start blogs have 5 or 6 rapid posts in the first week or two and then there’s nothing for six months.
And my gut is that I’m not the only one out there who’s wasting time reading about tips and tricks instead of implementing them. Why else does it seem like the only bloggers making money are the ones writing about ‘How To Make Money With Your Blog?’
I think there’s a legion of passive consumers who, like me, devour how-tos, tips & tricks, lifehacks, etc, and we all THINK we’re learning cool stuff about productivity or social media. But I’d be willing to make a healthy bet that most of us are wasting more time reading about productivity tips than the amount of time that implementing the productivity tips would actually save (how’s that for Irony 2.0?).
Maybe it’s social media A.D.D., but whenever I have a minute or two of downtime, instead of focusing and getting onto something new, I pop open a browser or my phone and check twitter to see if there’s anything new going on. Ten minutes later, I’ve gone down a wormhole into about 30 different tweets and links. And then I retweet the stuff that I think is cool.
Every time someone asks me about how to get into social media or twitter or what-have-you, I instantly say, “The only way to learn what it’s all about and to truly UNDERSTAND it is to DO IT. You have to actively participate to ‘get it’.” I also tell them that you have to commit and make participation a regular, ongoing habit and part of your daily life.
Well this is my official public confession that I’m spending too much time consuming and not enough time playing, doing, experimenting, and getting my hands dirty. I’ve been lazy. I’m on the verge of becoming social media’s equivalent of the armchair quarterback – someone who observes passionately but doesn’t play in the game.
You want to know how insane it is? I’m a big GTD fan – Getting Things Done is a huge productivity movement based on a book by David Allen – and I use the excuse of READING about GTD tips and tricks all over the place to PREVENT me from actually doing GTD!!!
I come to the WordPress CMS to write a blog post and end up spending 20 minutes updating all my plugins and checking stats, referrals, organic search, and god knows what else I can do TO AVOID ACTUALLY WRITING!
Well I say, “NO MORE HYPOCRISY!” (Sorry all the ALL CAPS screaming in this post – who am I, Burton Cummings?)
Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week , has some smart suggestions about eliminating multi-tasking, not checking or answering email more than a couple times a day, and relentlessly focusing on your key tasks that will make a difference. Remove the distractions and make stuff happen.
I’ve got to do a better job at that. Discpiline, discipline, discipline! I’m going to try to schedule blocks of time for DOING and shut out all distractions, including social media, while I’m doing my doing stuff.
And I’m off to a good start. I used Write Room to block out all distractions in order to write this post!
I’ll let you know how it goes, but first… got to go check what’s happening on Twitter.
How about you? Are you caught up in reading about productivity more than doing it?
Reading about Twitter more than posting and having real interactions on it?
Reading blogs about making money online instead of actually trying to do it?
If so, what are you going to do to change it?