I wanted to create an email list for this website, but I was finding Mail Chimp difficult to use. I was attempting to create a template for future emails, but despite my efforts I kept running into barriers. I need a header image, but I didn’t even have a header image for this website. And there were a dozen fields I need to customize for Mail Chimp before I even had a usable template.
Two years ago, I would have just given up. An email newsletter is not essential to this site. I could keep blogging without ever having one. I have an RSS feed and most of my traffic comes from social media anyway.
But that Saturday, I used two tricks to keep me going.
Breaking up work
I didn’t sit in front of the computer for more than an hour at a time. I would take at least a 15 minute break to do something else. The activities weren’t particularly exciting, but at different times I took the dogs for a walk, helped my wife with laundry and called my Dad to visit.
You likely already know this, but I have found that after 60-90 minutes of intense work, a person’s level of focus and productivity goes way down. So instead of just pushing through I took breaks.
Each time I came back to the computer I felt more energy and at times I had a different perspective on how to best accomplish a task.
It not just about today.
Another obvious statement, but I have come to realize that if I put all the benefit of work on just getting the project completed, it can be overwhelming. Instead I kept reminding myself, “the work you are putting in now on Mail Chimp will likely help you get a newsletter setup for this site, BUT you are also learning so much from the process.”
The process placed road blocks like needing a theme or logo for this site, so in the process I created one. The process of learning how Mail Chimp worked proved to be more difficult then I expected, but I realized what I was leanring could be valuable in the future. I could use this knowledge for other projects, helping with a Social Media Club of Lawrence list, helping a client, or even just helping a friend. I wasn’t working just for the end goal of getting the newsletter setup, but rather I was appreciating that I was learning along the way.
The next time you feel the desire to just give up on a difficult task, consider these two ideas. No guarantees of project completion, but I hope you end up getting something out of the process.
By the way, the email newsletter did get completed. If you want to get updated about new blog posts or when I share exclusive newslettter content, you can sign-up here.