Lost Your Focus? How To Move On…

Lost your enthusiasm? Overwhelmed by circumstances? Disillusioned or spinning your wheels? Here’s my experience: I hope it helps you turn things around…

broken pen

photo credit: Lorenzo (licence)

In June this year I went quiet. My weekly blog posts and newsletters abruptly stopped and I disappeared from your browser and email inbox. Apart from automatic emails to my subscribers, there have been four months of silence. So what happened? Today’s post explains all…

We moved house…

Our son and daughter moved out of our family home several years ago and both are now happily married with babies on the way (I’m looking forward to being a grandparent!) We have been “rattling around” in a three-bedroomed family home that was too big for our needs. So we decided to move to a smaller home. This has been a major drain on our time and energy:

  • Have you ever moved house? It involves a lot of planning and packing, plenty of hard work on moving day and a huge amount of unpacking and organisation afterwards.
  • We chose to rent out our old home. We decided on some “light renovation” to make the property more appealing. In reality, this became an enormous  renovation task! We did a lot of the work ourselves and it took several months to complete.
  • We also had renovation and decoration work to do at the new house, which we started once we had finished the old one.

In summary: we completely underestimated the scale of the project!

My productivity took a nose-dive

I wasn’t long before my regular rituals and routines were seriously disrupted by all this extra work. I had little or no time to write; it was hard enough keeping up with emails, let alone writing blog posts or compiling my newsletter. My short-term and medium-term goals (I use the 12-Week Year system) were in a mess and The Self-Improvement Guy website fell silent…

The silver lining

Every cloud has a silver lining“, my mum says. She’s right: the breakdown of my content schedule gave me the opportunity to pause and reflect. Now that life has returned to “normal” (whatever that is!) I have had time to analyse progress. I have realised that:

  • my day job restricts my available writing time – my work as a tutor involves several hours of planning and preparation in addition to the weekly contact time with my 30+ students.
  • weekly blog posts & newsletters are too much – in trying to keep up with a fortnightly post and a fortnightly newsletter, I have sometimes sacrificed quality for quantity.
  • my blog posts generate almost no comments – I am spending a lot of time writing content but insufficient time driving traffic to it.
  • the newsletter is far less popular than my blog – my readers email me about my blog posts and eBook but they rarely mention my newsletter.
  • engagement is low – the comments, messages, likes and followers my content generates are far fewer than I would like.
  • I am sometimes too impersonal – some of my content sounds like I’m on a pedestal as a Self-Improvement guru or expert. The truth is, I’m learning this stuff along with you. I need to make that more clear.

The way ahead

Having considered these challenges, I have made some decisions:

  • I can only write so much – I need a good balance between my day job (to pay the bills) and my writing (to serve my readers.)
  • I am renewing my commitment to Self-Improvement – I will re-establish and reconfigure my rituals, routines and habits through intentional, consistent action.
  • I am discontinuing my fortnightly newsletter – The online versions have been removed and any useful content will be reworked, improved and “recycled” elsewhere. When I come across websites, software or other content that I believe will help you, I will just send a quick email to my list (subscribe here).
  • I will try to be more open and honest – as I “learn out loud”, I will try to be more informative but less authoritative.
  • I will work on quality – trying to make sure my content is relevant and helpful to you.
  • I will survey my readers – to make sure I am meeting your Self-Improvement needs, please complete this short survey!
  • I will experiment with short-form blog content – as well as longer posts like this one, I will add some shorter ones and see if this affects engagement.

What have I learnt?

I have learnt some valuable lessons from my setback:

  • The longer I leave a problem the worse it gets – we finished all our home renovation about a month ago but I have been procrastinating… As a result, I have been feeling progressively worse about not getting back on track. Now I have taken action: I feel great again!
  • I need to share my failures – anyone can write a blog post about their Self-Improvement successes, but sometimes my foul-ups might help you, too?
  • Reflection is a vital part of progress – if my regular system hadn’t been disrupted, I probably wouldn’t have taken time to reflect and reconsider my content. I need to review my own journey regularly.

What about you?

  • Do you need more focus?
  • Do you need a time of reflection and review?
  • What have you learnt from your problems and setbacks?

Don’t just read the questions: please “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of this page and share your thoughts!

(Please remember to complete my Self-Improvement survey, too. Thank you.)

To our continued Self-Improvement and success!

David Hendra
The Self-Improvement Guy

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5 Comments

  1. Travis Sheaffer

    November 7, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    I can relate to some of your procrastinating and loss of focus. I loved this email article and it spoke to me very well! Self reflection may be my focus at the moment and I think applying my reflections to what actions I’ll be taking is my next step. Thank you for this blog and if I can give input I would say not to work so hard on driving readers to your content as much as creating the content you feel you want to make for your readers and yourself. If you build it, they will come.

    • Thanks for your input, Travis! I wasn’t thinking of doing any paid promotion or buying in traffic, but I thought I might tighten up my SEO and increase my presence and engagement on social media, etc.
      Hopefully the results of the survey will give me a good idea about what content to write. Did you take a minute to fill out the survey form?

  2. Bridgett Phillips

    November 12, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    I totally relate! I retired from my dental career of 25 years and I moved from CA to AZ last Jan. All my kids are grown, have grandchildren, my kids are busy pursuing the life they want . I kept my house in CA as a rental, this house needed AMAJOR UPDATE. It took ALOT of time and energy, yes, my daily routine lost its way. I fell into a depression feeling overwhelmed and so far from my friends and family. I didn’t know own what to do with myself! I ended up enrolling in school. I am studying to become a Mind, Body, Wellness Practitioner, with a focus on his ticket nutrition. That is a path I chose primarily for self improvement, and the desire to learn more about how I can achieve betterms health. I struggle with some chronic health issues. Going to school has been AWESOME. I feel challenged, and I’m learning. But I am having to learn how to balance my new life, and it to gets overwhelming. What I know, is this path you and I are on, is a new path, a new way of living. We have outgrown the old , we need to SHED those things that. Don’t serve us. Thank you for sharing! It made my day, as I can see I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE !

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Bridgett. I wish you all the very best with your “lifelong learning”! Hopefully there may be some other content on my site that can help you, too (check the Index.)

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