Download numbers, likes, reshares, and followers are useful numbers to track, but focusing on them too much can leave us distracted, frustrated, and eventually burned out. That’s because we’re focusing on stuff we can’t control, instead of stuff we can.
The 90-Day No-Stats Challenge is a fun way to see what can happen when you put your energy into making stuff people love, instead of hitting Refresh on that analytics page.
Here’s how it works.
- Sign up to the challenge
- Pick a charity to support
- Ask your friends to sponsor you to abstain from checking your stats!
- Track your progress on a wall calendar or a streaks tracking app
- Every time you take a peek at your stats, restart your streak from 0 (this will probably only happen in the first week or so)
Who’s behind the challenge
Hi, I’m Mark Steadman. I help creative people do more of the good stuff, and less of the stuff that’s holding them back… I also help them tell the difference. I call myself a creative coach, but you can call me any time you need me.
I make a daily podcast called Morning Creative, and it was an episode of that show that inspired this challenge.
What’s the point of this challenge?
I really think that many of us focus too much on things like download numbers and view counts. They’re not unhelpful, but they’re not within our control. All we can control is our output: the stuff we do every day to move the needle, to get just 1% better, or to keep making the stuff our audience already enjoys.
But feedback’s a good thing, right?
Absolutely it is. And you should keep track of every good piece of feedback you get. Feedback like compliments and five-star reviews are generally great signals of how you’re doing because they reflect the work. But when we focus on numbers, we dehumanise our audience, and turn them into a blob that we just want to see get bigger and bigger!
What if you accidentally see some stats?
If it was a genuine accident (like you logged in to do something else and the number popped up), don’t stress about it – you’re still in the game.
We’re on the honour system
Chances are, at the beginning of the challenge, you’ll forget you’re supporting to be doing it, and you’ll check your numbers out of habit. Don’t beat yourself up. But be honest – let your audience know you peeked, and then restart your streak from day zero. The aim is to go for 90 days straight, not just to make it through to May! Also, accountability for the win!
Don’t go it alone
It’s a great idea to buddy up with some fellow creators, to keep each-other honest. Or, in true Seinfeld fashion, to see who caves first!
This isn’t just for podcasters
If you create a YouTube channel, a newsletter, a blog, or something else you show up for on a regular basis, this challenge is for you… especially if you find it hard not to fixate on a number or a graph.
What numbers should I be avoiding?
It depends on what you do. For podcasts and YouTube channels it’s numbers like downloads and numbers of plays. If a newsletter’s your main thing, you might want to avoid looking at your subscriber number. If you’re a TikTokker, steer clear of your follower count. You get it! Whatever number you normally track to answer the question “Is this thing on?”, that’s the number you want to avoid while taking up the challenge.