Too Much Research can Kill You

Einstein writing his next 10 EzineArticle ideas… well your productivity specifically but it often feels the same at the end of the day.

Another day gone … No progress

It’s an awful feeling isn’t it? Not completing the things you know you should.

That feeling you get also at the end of the day when you haven’t actually produced anything. But you know you have been really busy, even stressed to the point of having many things to deal with and having to juggle all the things that clamour for your attention.

But there it is … another day gone … no progress.

Is it procrastination that gets the blame for this evil? Often it has played its part within anyone’s day, but it is certainly not responsible for this particular kind of fault. That is … spending too much time in research

From my own perspective the problem that I have when researching a simple subject is that I am compelled to go too deep. I get overwhelmed by the task of getting to understand the subject completely and want to cover every aspect of it.

The problem then is time… then perhaps because something takes too long, being dropped altogether.

An example from one personal project…

What started off as a simple article I intended to write becomes a research project! Of course, with this problem, most of these projects I have taken on never get completed. I end up with mounds of information, loads of writing, mind-maps and other media sitting on my hard-drive with nothing to show for it. It can feel at times like delving into a bottomless pit and the chaos that surrounds me only entices me to go deeper to try and get it organised.

Sadly, as so often happens, nothing gets posted.

To be positive about it, I have learned so much! I have worked hard in understanding it all!

But sadly produced nothing at the end of it…

Of course when you dive into a subject with any depth many adjacent subjects become irresistibly attractive and the temptation then is to wander off purpose.

Let me go into the detail of this one project and how this happens to me – then maybe you might see it in similar things you do, or better still, you have overcome it and you tell me how you cured it.

I start the beginning of the year full of resolve with the intention to write 10 articles a day. A great target, I know I can do it and would be great for building up sites. Later I discover that the Ezinearticles HAHD was starting up again so this became an added incentive. Especially for me who never completed the last hundred articles in a hundred days challenge for essentially the same reason as I am describing here.

So New year, new start, new plans. I had a list of titles duly written out on my EzineArticles notepad titled curiously enough ‘My Next 10 Article Ideas:’. On the list is a title I found to be a great candidate for traffic with relatively little competition called ‘Free Images for Your Website’.

Great…

I’m off to work…

  • I use Web Content Studio, a great application by Dr. Andy Williams and combine my research with finding the key theme words, quickly finding relevant information that can go into the planned article.
  • But then I find all sorts of interesting aspects, the licensing of images, different kinds of media you can use and the methods of placing them – ideas for new articles get noted.
  • Then I find that in answering the question there are many sites that are available for choosing images, more and more get found, including later sites that will produce images for you based on a theme image – an interesting extension to the planned article.
  • As these websites are suggested and appear all over the Internet I write a bot that will go off and hunt them down, after a while of writing and running it hands me a list of URLs to tidy up.
  • Then, realising I need to look at the popularity (or at least tell me if the site is still alive) of the sites write another bot that will take each URL and report back.
  • Well, OK, I have a useful list, what do I now do with it? It still needs more work… – I consider this something that would perhaps be a great download offer.
  • But then distracted I get interested in the many different types of media there are and the opportunities become clearer on being able to reuse your article in different forms to create videos, podcasts and many other media.
  • It slowly dawns on me that this question cannot really be answered in just one article, it will take many of them, so the sensible approach of dividing them up takes place. But this isn’t so easy to do and time gets spent working on what kinds of articles can be produced.
  • I begin to wonder if a website totally dedicated to it is needed – as it happens I have a dead domain called Foto0 which needs some content love and decide that it will be the destination of what comes out from this research.
  • Meanwhile, because of the interest in producing other kinds of media and reproducing articles in them I test out the ideas on a few blog posts, complete with videos and podcasts. I wasn’t happy with the results of them but content with the fact that I at least could produce them in different ways. I resolved that this is how I intended to move forward.

Weeks pass, other more complex projects get done but being distracted by life and its urgencies or by other interesting things going on the Internet I still haven’t yet produced the intended article – even though research continues and lots of different material gets produced locally.

Procrastination may be responsible for some time lost but it is definitely not the cause of this failure.

I find myself going back today looking at the possibility of writing an article – I check my list, and ‘free images for websites’ still remains unwritten … I look at what I have done and begin delving into the whole idea of content and its purpose again. However, it is the end of January, a whole month has passed and so I stop … and I wonder of course, what am I doing wrong?

  • Is this down to being too thorough – or is it a sign of obsession?
  • Is this down to exploring too deeply – or a sign of lack of focus?

I need to find a solution … and this article is born of my realization that this is a serious problem and follows my thinking about it.

 

… a long pause …

Comparing the Values of Short Less Valuable Output to the Long Haul

I think of what it is I want to achieve – and that is effective production. Being silent on the Internet is the death knell for anybody, even with the most evergreen information in the world, it is a sad fact that if your content isn’t out there, in the now, it may as well not exist at all. So unless you are exercising your typing skills whatever you produce will have very little effect. So during this time of pulling together ideas and content I am totally ineffective, I may as well not exist on the Internet. Harsh, but trafficly true!

An article produced would at least produce a backlink and possibly, depending on the keywords, the demand and the competition of them, a little bit of traffic. The article could reasonably be produced within an hour, if rushed possibly within ten minutes. An article, a trickle of traffic, over time will amount to a reasonable amount. It will be there, ready to be seen, working silently away at just existing, ready for a browser at the right time, searching for the right thing.

On the other extreme, the website and all the information and interest in the subject would possibly produce quite a bit of traffic and will of course be much more valuable. However, is the time spent on it proportional to the benefit that can be gained?

If a number of articles are produced, even though they of minimal value, maybe some none at all, if added up can create a substantial amount of traffic and SE love.

Within these extremes of course lies the one damnable fact … if none of it is actually done, produced and published then none of it is worth anything at all.

 

… a longer pause …

OK – I find I am now producing all sorts of mind maps and notes, either going deeper or by thinking about what others have done or what could be done. Again, some lovely ideas there but nothing of value unless something gets produced…

Let’s look on Google …

  • Search for “What to do when you go too deep”
    Hmmm, brings you material on going ‘too deep’ during sex. No – Not that helpful – Really.
  • Search for “productivity “too much research””
    Brought out something useful, tips guaranteed to help you succeed when building your empire from home, titled “Too much Research is not a Good Thing”. OK, a nice couple of tips there and almost addressing the problem but not really answering it in my opinion.

 

… a different kind of pause …

OK – A different approach is needed. I am now going to go around the Internet and ask this question and see what others think on the subject…

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  • Shaun

    I easily get pulled into this situation and have to check my self.

    Rgds,
    Shaun