We live in an age of information over-abundance and finite attention spans. As a result, both writers and readers have come to depend on the quick fix. People don’t have time to read drawn out explanation and analysis. They want answers up front in an easily digestible format.
Lists, bullets points, and quick tips have the advantage of speed and efficiency, but if you aren’t careful, getting caught up in the quick fix mentality can seriously hinder your progress. Here are some suggestions for developing a sustainable growth strategy that isn’t determined by the day’s hot topic.
When you’re ingesting hundreds tips and ideas every day, the hardest part is mentally organizing them well enough to take action. Even if your head is filled with great advice, it won’t be much use if you form a coherent plan.
A habit that I’ve been cultivating that addresses this problem is scheduling solitude. Every day I make a point of taking a walk by myself, preferably first thing in the morning before everyone else is awake. This alone time might seem insignificant, but it gives me the chance to be alone with my thoughts, away from distractions. I use this time to evaluate the previous day, plan my current day, and sort out the ideas in my head. You’d be amazed how much more effective and purposeful you become after only 30 minutes of solitude.
Develop a Longterm Strategy
Regardless of what your goals are, there will always be new ideas popping up that claim to be the latest and greatest. Once they start to generate buzz, it’s tempting to change your plans to jump on the new opportunity. The problem with this is that it fails to develop a long term strategy. If you keep jumping from one opportunity to the next, you become a follower without real direction.
Don’t expect the latest and greatest thing to solve your problems. Instead, use what you know to develop a longterm strategy. Your strategy will change as you learn about new opportunities, but don’t abandon it because something looks easier. The world is full of frustrated opportunity seekers — don’t be one of them. Thinking in terms of strategy is an enormous advantage.
Along the same lines, people are often way too willing to change their plans for the promise of a quick fix. If something doesn’t work out immediately, it’s on the next opportunity, and the next after that. Behaving this way allow you to develop skill and experience.
Of course most ideas don’t pay off immediately, if they did everyone would be successful. Give each new idea a full trial before abandoning it. Stick with it for a while, and do your best to make it work. After a few months, if the results aren’t there it might be time to make a change, but at least you’ll know why it didn’t work.
Don’t Try to Fix Everything At Once
Another dangerous mindset is trying to fix everything at once. We want to find the solution that allows us solve our problem with one giant swoop. I’m particularly guilty of this myself. In trying to build up this site as quickly as possible, I got into the habit of writing every post for optimal social media performance. When you can get on Digg and drive 30,000 readers to your site in one day, it’s tempting to try to do it every time.
The problem with this is that building an audience all at once is impossible. It requires making thousands of individual connections and that takes time. By trying to make every post a big hit, I wasn’t being faithful to myself or PickTheBrain’s loyal readers. I thank the readers who spoke up to complain. From now on the focus of this site will be providing the best possible content, not social media performance.
For those of you who enjoy list posts, don’t worry either. We’ll still be employing them, but they’ll be balanced with more substantial posts that are the heart and soul of the site. The lesson here is that important accomplishments take time and effort. Trying to find shortcuts, even if they provide a temporary boost, will only hinder your progress.
In the age of quick fixes, it’s easy to get distracted. By forming an intelligent strategy and implementing it consistently, you’ll have an enormous advantage over those who flock from one opportunity to the next. Don’t let a short attention span or the pursuit of easy answer kill your progress.
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How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.