Stressed guy

Get Your Thoughts Out of Your Head

If you’re like me, you change your mind a lot. There are some aspects of your blog that you can’t quite settle on. Your week might look something like this:

  • Monday: “I think I should just write about fashion for a while.”
  • Tuesday: “Hmmm, if I just write about fashion then I might lose some subscribers.”
  • Wednesday: “I make money from fashion blogging, maybe it’s okay to lose some subscribers.”

This can ruin your week. When I have a big decision like this hanging over me, I find it hard to sleep. How do you rid yourself of this problem?

Think on Paper

I picked up this technique from Goals by Brian Tracy. He recommends you write down your thoughts. This clarifies your thinking. You’re forced to express your assumptions.

When you write some of your thoughts down, you might actually see them as a little silly. You might be thinking: “If I spend the next month writing about fashion, I’ll lose half of my subscribers”. If this thought stays in the back of your head, it can cause you anxiety. But if you write it down, it can take the sting out of it. You may see that you are being way too pessimistic.

Keep a Decision File

When you start thinking on paper, you may feel like all you’re doing is writing down problems. Here is how to turn them into solutions.

Create a new file on your computer, call it something like “fashion blogging decision”. Fill the file up with the questions you’re asking yourself:

  • “Should I focus just on fashion?”
  • “Will focusing on fashion cause me to lose subscribers?”
  • “Is it okay to lose subscribers if my fashion subscribers are more profitable?”

Under each question, start to type an answer. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Remember, you’re the only person who will read this. If you can’t think of answers, think about how you can find answers.

For example, how could you find out if you would lose subscribers? You could check if other bloggers have written about this dilemma. You could even email a few bloggers and ask for their advice. If you still feel uncertain, you could design an experiment.

Think of a low risk way you can test if your fears are real. You may decide: “I’m going to try fashion blogging for two weeks. At the end of two weeks, I’ll check how many subscribers I have lost. Then I will decide if I should continue with fashion blogging”.

When you create an experiment like this, you free yourself. You’re still uncertain about the future, but you’re no longer worried about it. You know what the next two weeks will look like and that’s enough. You can get to work without the constant distraction of doubt.

Another great thing about decision files is that you can always go back to them. If some new problem occurs to you, you can add it to the file. For example, you might think “fashion blogging is more profitable, but I enjoy food blogging more”. This will raise new questions you can add to the file:

  • “What is it that I enjoy about food blogging?”
  • “Can I bring that same enjoyment to fashion blogging?”
  • “Is there a way I could do both?”

When you use this system, at some point, you’ll get a gut feeling and go with it. Even if you’ve made your decision already, I recommend that you write your thoughts down. This way, every time you revisit the decision, you’ll be more efficient. You’ll be able to quickly remind yourself of all the options and issues. You’ll be confident that you’ve covered everything.

As you use this system, you’ll find that you worry less during the week. Your decisions will become tasks you can schedule. You’ll be able to let yourself off the hook: “I’ll sit down and make that decision Monday morning and forget about it for now”. You won’t spend every spare moment weighing up your options. You’ll reach your decision by giving it your full attention for 30 to 60 minutes. Unless some new information pops up, when you make a final decision, you won’t second guess it. You will have removed all doubt.

Will you use decision files? Leave a comment and let me know.

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