When we create something, we often seek validation from others. However, our obsession with numbers and constant checking can be detrimental. Today, I have a challenge for you.
During the festive period, I made a big pot of chili in a slow cooker for New Year’s Eve. I love making chili so much that a friend gifted me a chili lovers kit. I haven’t opened it yet because I wanted to enjoy my own chili first. I added beef mince, kidney beans, black beans, and a bit of chocolate for flavor. It turned out mild but nice. I set the slow cooker to cook for six or seven hours.
The problem with slow cooking is that I can’t resist checking on the progress. I love seeing the changes, but in reality, you don’t see much until the last few hours. I have this idea that if I can’t see progress, then there is no progress. This mentality extends to my creative projects as well. I put my work out into the world and expect immediate results. When nothing happens, I start questioning myself and making unnecessary changes.
This became so overwhelming that I had to buy a toy, a handheld gaming console, to distract myself. I realized that constantly checking stats was detrimental to my mental health. I had to remind myself to switch off and stop obsessing over the slow progress of my projects.
Some creative work is like being a short order cook, where you get instant feedback. But much of what we do on the internet is slow and requires patience. We are wired to seek instant gratification, but we need to let our work marinate and do its job without constantly evaluating it.
I challenge you to go 90 days without checking your stats. Use a streak tracking app or a wall calendar to keep track. If you forget or slip up, don’t stress. Just start again. This challenge will help break the habit of constantly checking and allow you to focus on the work itself.
By ignoring stats, you can judge your work on its own merits and not be influenced by numbers. Remember that stats can fluctuate for reasons beyond our control. Focusing on the work rather than the numbers is the way to go.
If you’re worried about tracking your progress, focus on tracking your output rather than outcomes. Keep track of reviews and compliments instead. Accidentally seeing a number is fine, but don’t dwell on it or compare it to future numbers.
I’m taking this challenge myself starting in February. If you know someone who obsesses over stats, share this episode with them and form an accountability group. Let’s support each other in this challenge!