I’ve been reminded of this quote lately because my attention has been wandering. That’s not to say energy isn’t flowing – it’s just flowing off in several directions.
When we think about getting things done, crossing things off, and making progress, we’re usually considering concrete things like action items or task lists. There’s another side though. Just by paying attention to something, we are creating inspiration, motivation, and keeping momentum.
Here’s the example that brought the quote to mind. For most of last year I was in the habit of checking my blog stats before logging off for the night. In the past 3 months, I’ve not been so regular. Recently I went 3 weeks without looking. And my pageviews have dropped.
I’m not trying to say that just by looking at my stats I was somehow magically drawing people to my blog – although that would be nice. But here’s what was happening…
First, I was paying attention to what people seemed to be interested in. That often prompted ideas for follow-up posts. This gave me inspiration, resulting in more articles my readers wanted to read.
Second, seeing that over a thousand people were reading my blog every week gave me motivation. It felt good to know people were interested. I wanted to keep them interested and coming back. Which drove me to be consistent.
Third, because I was so aware of my stats, I felt challenged to continue to improve on them. That gave me momentum.
As a bonus, I often hit that little tweet button on a post or two, encouraging more readership!
These small inputs made a real difference in results, clearly showing me the value of paying attention.
Originally published in the Work Better, Not Harder newsletter, January 27, 2015