I recently found the first book I ever read on productivity and time management, The 10 Natural Laws of Time and Life Management by Hyrum Smith, in the Kindle Bookstore. This was an opportunity too good to miss, so I bought the book and began reading. What I did not realise twenty-five years ago, when I first read it, was the huge impact it would have on my life. Many of the concepts Hyrum Smith wrote about became embedded into my character, my personality and the way I work. Even to this day, I still follow many of the lessons I learnt from the book. For example, I understand the importance of my values on my goals and I understand that sometimes we have certain beliefs about the way things happen in life, that are just not true. For instance, if you had a bad experience with a dog when you were younger, you believe that all dogs will attack you. Yet this belief is simply not true. The vast majority of domesticated dogs will never attack you.
This “belief window”, as Hyrum Smith calls it, also works with your productivity. If you believe you cannot get yourself organised, then this is a false belief. There is no reason at all why you cannot get yourself organised and productive. It just means you have not tried enough times to find the perfect system for you.
This concept of false beliefs goes much further. Many people, when beginning a blog or a YouTube channel, believe if they do not get a few hundred, or a few thousand followers in the first week or two they are not going to succeed. This is completely false. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to build a significant following. My conservative estimate is that you need to commit to a consistent schedule of content delivery for around four years before you will see a significant following. During those four years you are going to modify, tweak and play around with your concept and your topic. It will take time for you to find your sweet spot. Those four years are the learning cycle, they are part of the journey and will, with the right attitude, be one of the best times you have building your following.
The good news is that, as so many people quit in the early stages, if you do have the patience and are consistent with your content delivery it is very easy to make your blog, YouTube channel or Instagram account a success. All you have to do is to prepare yourself for a four year development process, and know everything you do during that four year period is taking you closer and closer to your end goal, whatever that end goal is. It is a time to learn, develop and grow.
And that brings me on to goals. Most people fail at their goals because they want instant results. That is not going to happen. If you are 30 pounds overweight, then you are going to be about 30 pounds overweight tomorrow even if you don’t eat anything today. Weight loss does not happen overnight. If you want to save $10,000, you are not going to have $10,000 next week. Both weight loss and saving money takes patience and consistency. You have to consistently have a reduced food intake or put some money away each week or month. If you are consistent and you are patient, in time you will lose those 30 pounds and or save $10,000. It is that simple.
The world we live in today is an instant gratification world. The internet, our smartphones and technology in general means we have begun to believe we can have everything now. But this belief is not true. Successfully achieving your goals, building a blog or YouTube channel and many other things in life take time. The iPhone itself, launched ten years ago, began as an idea in 2002. It took five years before it was launched. The one piece of technology that arguably changed all our lives and society took five years to develop. All great things take time to develop. You are not going to publish a 1,000 word blog post, having never written anything before, and tomorrow have 10,000 followers on Medium. That does not happen. To get 10,000 followers on Medium takes years to grow. Most of the top Medium writers began writing their own blogs a long time before Medium launched.
My own YouTube channel and Medium blog are small by comparison to the top writers and YouTubers in personal development and productivity. I don’t care. I am eighteen months into a five year plan. My channel and blog are growing and I am learning so much about video production and writing. The journey itself is tremendous fun. I am getting to know so many fantastic people from all over the world through these channels and that in itself is worth the time and effort to produce the content each week. And that really is the point, it is the journey, the education you get and the people you get to know that makes the effort worthwhile. If you are not going to enjoy that process, and are not willing to be patient and consistent then I would suggest you look for something else to bring you what you want.
So, whatever it is you want to create or build, set yourself a four or five year plan. The first four or five years is your development phase. It is not about the numbers in this stage, it is about learning your skill. Finding what works and what does not work. It’s about crafting your talent and growing. Don’t look at your numbers frequently. Focus all your energy and efforts on the quality of your content and delivering that content consistently week after week. The old adage “if you build it they will come” is not always true, but if you don’t build it, it will never be true.
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Carl Pullein is a personal productivity specialist, presenter and author of Working With Todoist: The Book as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity. Carl works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more successful, productive and creative.