Sometimes it can feel like there are so many decisions we need to make as food bloggers and business owners that it can be paralyzing and cause anxiety. To add to the anxiety, there seem to be a million experts out there telling you what you need to be doing and how it needs to be done… and now. As though if you fail to act, your blog is going to disintegrate right before your eyes! I am here to talk you off that ledge and help to try and help you make better decisions and know when to act.
Infinite Decisions To Make
There is always something to learn and we always seem to have something that needs to be done. Whether it is some odd image size that needs to change or a random Google SEO change, we might have thoughts of editing every single post on any given day. It can be crippling.
I like to think that I am pretty good at writing, but there are at least a million courses I could take on writing or ways I could improve my writing. The same for Instagram, photography, SEO, technology, and recipes. Interestingly, food is the highlight of what we do, but probably one of the least talked about subjects in most food blogger forums.
The possibilities are infinite. The infinite can be a scary place and it can become easy to become trapped in it. If you let it, food blogging can become a never-ending maze of course work, self-improvement, and planning without ever actually doing anything.
I want you to do something.
The Choice Is Ours And That is Great
The good news is that we have infinite choices we can make! These choices are an expression of our freedom, which is awesome. We have the freedom to make any choice we want to. It is as simple as making them.
anxiety is the dizziness of freedomSoren Kierkegaard
So, we have the freedom to make choices and that is great. Now, you need to make decisions and execute them.
How NOT to get stuck in Analysis Paralysis
The following are a few tips and tricks to help you from getting caught up in negative or self-destructive habits that can prevent you from making decisions.
Lighten up! This is a food blog. Particularly if you are trying to make an income from this, it can sometimes feel like a serious business rather than food blogging. In fact, I see many experts out there advocating to treat this like a serious business.
Look. I understand that there is a side to this that can be serious. All I an asking is that you don’t forget why you started to do this. And if it was only for the money, you are likely going to be let down anyway. Make room to play and have fun!
Always Be Posting
You are a food blogger, so blog! A critical piece of having a food blog is that you need to be writing recipes. I see so many new bloggers get so caught up in the nuances of getting started that they never start.
You don’t need to create a masterpiece. You can come back and change it in the future. In fact, I can assure you that in a year you will look back and want to come back and change what you did. It’s ok and good. You should be growing as time goes on and future-you will hopefully be more informed than today-you.
If you are constantly posting, some decisions are just going to be made for you. At a minimum, you are going to be putting new content out there!
Every time you make a post, just make an effort to be a little bit better. I have heard Bjork at Food Blogger Pro talk about 1% and I agree with this. Just try and be a little bit better every time.
In between this week’s post and next week’s post, you don’t need to ‘figure out’ Pinterest. Maybe, you figure a thing about Pinterest out. Even the biggest and best Pinterest experts still have a black box of unknown things when it comes to Pinterest.
A master potter doesn’t become that way overnight. That potter must make some pottery to hone his craft. Some of the pottery, in the beginning, might be as ugly as sin, but they were necessary to end up as that great potter. Without the ones at the beginning, he wouldn’t be the great potter he is today.
This blog is an example for me. I wanted to get started, so I did. I will be making changes as time goes on, but I am just moving forward with the business of getting things done. Meanwhile, I am trying to improve a little bit every day!
It Is OK to fail!
When you make decisions, rarely is it so dramatic that it will mess up your blog permanently. As long as you are not doing obviously spammy or shady things, you can make mistakes. In fact, failure, for me, is always an opportunity to reflect and learn. Like our master potter, he failed at least once at making a simple bowl in his past.
Now, that master potter is probably making things that he still sometimes fails at. The master potter challenges himself, because it is important to do that.
Time Box Your Decision Making
Sometimes, you want to investigate something or make a decision on how to move forward. One way you can help prevent getting stuck in the decision process is to set a time-frame, or time box, and stick to it. This can be anywhere from 15 minutes to whatever you see fit. Maybe it is even a 3-month decision.
Let’s say you are thinking about changing themes, it might be a decision that will take some time. Do you use a templated theme or use a custom developer? Do you hire someone or do it yourself? These are all important decisions and making a plan of action is important, but part of that plan-of-action should include a timeline to make a decision.
The point is that you set yourself a deadline for making a decision and then commit to it. If you can do that, you can help prevent indecision. While many things do need a bit of research and thought, the action is important in this activity we call life.
Make a To-Do List
I am not going to get into the details of my lists, as my personal to-do list(s) are pretty detailed and maybe a little insane to your average person. The main thing here is that a to-do list gives you a map for your plans of action. I think of my to-do list as a silent accountability buddy. If I don’t get things done, that is ok, but it is good to check myself on what I said I was going to do.
Make Room to Be Inspired
Inspiration sparks action. Allow yourself to be inspired. Getting caught up in the day to day struggles can muffle our passion for cooking and blogging. Making sure to make room for inspiration is important. Whether it be taking a cooking class, photography class, reading, or watching your favorite show, make time for it.
Inspiration can be the foundation of some beautiful work!
Money is a Thing – Decisions and Money
It isn’t just a problem with time, either. Also, money. So many people want our money. I swear a rich person could go broke with all of the resources vying for our money! Some people have never even had a food blog or even a blog. This does not mean they aren’t experts in their area, and some are absolutely great at what they do, but it does often make me raise an eyebrow.
The thing about decisions and money is that while we may have infinite decisions, most of us don’t have infinite money. So, we are limited by our budget. That is ok. The limitation of money can sometimes help narrow down our decisions, which can be good.
Do Not Lose YOURSELF!
We have so many resources on how to do things in the food blogging world that sometimes we might have the opposite problem of being paralyzed in infinite decisions and only doing what the crowd says. While there is certainly value in listening to the crowd, there is also value in your crazy ideas! Despite what some people say, there are more than one way to do things. In fact, I think some of the coolest and most impressive bloggers out there (or any artists, really) are the ones that heed no mind to the technical mechanics of blogging and just make excellent stuff!
Take a look through the Saveur Blog Award winners and finalists list. You are going to find some bloggers here that make mistakes. Well, mistakes from the standpoint of people who get nerdy in the how-to-blog world. Many of these people are writing from the heart and even if they do make some ‘mistakes’, it still resonates with people. THAT is the most important part!
Escape the paralysis of the infinite, but also don’t forget to listen to your gut when making your decisions. You don’t need to be like everybody else, even if the experts might seem to be telling you otherwise. I think it is imperative that when you make decisions, you make sure to put your own flavor on it, even if sometimes it might be a little out there.
Determine what is important for you and roll with it!
One of my big struggles is with Pinterest. So, I spent money on a Pinterest course that many people like. I didn’t. There were a few helpful tips here and there, but I felt like the information was outdated (like maybe 9 months old) and not as relevant as it could have been.
I didn’t make the best decision. That is ok! Next time, I will know better. I spent my money and while I wish I would have gotten a better product, there is no use dwelling on it. I know where I am at and know what I want to achieve. Today, I can make the decisions I need to move forward.
Good To Great and the Flywheel Effect
At my last corporate job, we all read the book, Good to Great. There is an idea in Good to Great about the Flywheel and a sort of inertia in moving our business from good to great. There is no magic bullet, but rather a collection of decisions we make and actions we take that all contribute moving us forward.
So, I would argue that worrying too much about any individual bad decision isn’t as worthwhile as just making a whole bunch of good decisions. Do your best to make the best decisions you can and move to get that flywheel going!
Inspired by Philosophy Podcast
This post was inspired by a podcast I have been binging lately called Philosophize This! It is a fun and great podcast, but there is a specific episode [Spotify link] [Transcript link] that specifically made me think of food blogging and all of the decisions that can go into it. So, if podcasts are your jam and you are into asking navel-gazing questions, check out Stephen West’s podcast!
We have so many decisions in front of us every day as food bloggers and it can be a struggle to really decide what we need to be doing. Planning and learning is important, but don’t forget to take action! I hope this little post helps you on the way to getting you one step closer to making good decisions!
If you liked this article, check out my actual writing at Ramshackle Pantry!