From “Brian” at Brain Cutlery:
Starting a blog was a bad idea
It was kind of a Narcissistic urge to write about my experiences at the same time as trying to improve myself. I guess you can consider it a ‘public journal’ with a few hints, tips and best practice techniques thrown in.
In productivity terms, it was a dumb move. Blogging is hard (at least for me) and takes a chunk of time and energy to ensure you’re engaging and posting regularly (which is required to get the conversation going, which in turn is kind of the whole point of blogging vs journalling).
It’s not hard to see why taking on a new project at a time where you’re looking to improve is a bad idea. It does, after all, take away time and energy from your efforts to improve, not to mention that it’s yet another distraction from whatever else you’re attempting to accomplish with your life. On the other hand, having gone through the experience myself, I see where a blog or any other self-contained project can have value for those looking to do better.
When I started A Better Mess, it was very much a part of my attempt to improve. There was no big plan or larger ambition for the site. I had no real desire to engage or to get a conversation going. The purpose of the site was to create a space that offered similar challenges and responsibilities as my everyday work, but that lacked the mess I’d inevitably need to clean up. It was a place to experiment, to learn, to screw up and to attempt to do better. I did it publicly as the commitment to readers (both of them) kept me honest and their feedback challenged my ideas.
It required that I make some room in my life, that I watch less TV, that I sacrifice a few nights out, that I sleep a little less. It also forced me to take a step back from some of my larger ambitions while I got my crap together. In return, I honed new skills, I got better at determining and organizing my priorities, I became a better writer, I learned a ton about the web, and I met amazing people who continue to help and inspire me to improve. It also provided me with a place to clarify and organize my thoughts on the experience.
While taking on a new project at the same time that you’re trying to improve may seem counterintuitive, I don’t think it’s dumb (unless its an attempt to take on a big ambition before you’ve really gotten your act together). The work I’ve done on this site has had a massive positive impact on every part of my life and every project I attempt. It gave me a blank slate for improving, one that allowed me to think things through without the burden of a slew of problems that need solving. This site is an endeavor that helped me take more control over my life, it taught me the skills that have helped solve many of my pre-existing challenges and it continues to help me actualize more of what I imagine.
So no, I don’t think it was a bad idea, even in productivity terms…