Like most bloggers, I used to frequently fall down the research rabbit-hole on the internet. When a subject piqued my interest, I wanted to learn everything about it and would find myself spending hours, sometimes days, scrolling through websites and blog posts until I had enough info to make a full assessment on it. It was truly a gift and a curse, because while I was constantly learning new things, I lost something that couldn’t be replaced: time. Time to spend with friends + family or get things done around the house. Time to relax and fully recharge. Time to create.
In order to be successful as a blogger while still having balance in your life, you HAVE to move out of research mode into execution mode in order to actually get sh*t done. While it’s imperative that you stay abreast of what’s going on in social media and other changes within the blogosphere, you will easily give up or burnout with blogging when you spend too much time researching what you SHOULD do instead of doing what you NEED to do. Constantly hopping from article to article about the same thing gives you a false sense of output and progress. You now know a lot, but you aren’t actually doing anything with it. Kinda defeats the purpose of research, right?
To get out of research mode and get sh*t done, I do these 4 steps to stay efficient with my time:
SET A TIME LIMIT
30 minutes to an hour reading a few articles is fine. 2 days and 75 articles later is excessive. Designate a block of time to do research on a topic; use the alarm on your phone, and also try to outline exactly what you’re trying to figure out. Be as specific as possible in your search so that you don’t spiral.
Grab a pen and pad to take notes as you read. If you haven’t noticed, after the first 3-5 articles you read, everything else pretty much says the same thing, so there’s no reason to keep going. If you take notes while doing this, you will start to see a recurring theme in each article and from that, you can wrap up your thoughts.
TURN OFF ALL DISTRACTIONS
No checking email, answering the phone, looking at Instagram, putting a load in the wash, etc. You know what I mean. Because you’ve blocked out this time specifically to research something, stay focused on the project at hand so that you can get what you need from the session without it spilling over into other areas.
HAVE A PLAN FOR WHAT YOU LEARN
You’ve read all of these articles, taken all of these notes…now what? What’s your plan for what you’ve learned? Was it for informational purposes only, or was it for something you needed to implement on your blog? What will be the end result? If you’re spending a ton of time doing research on a topic related to your blog, work, or social media, there has to be a reason behind it and an action plan of some sort so that you can use what you know. Otherwise, you’re really just procrastinating (aka not getting sh*t done!).
Since I started implementing these tips whenever I need to research something, I’m able to be more efficient with my time and actually move forward with what I learn.
How much of a research junkie are you? How often do you use what you learn? Comment below!