I’m quite happy that it appears that Dan’s column in the Wall Street Journal is back with some regularity because it has always been a great source of material for my blog. And this week is no exception.
Here is one of the emails Dan received:
I am obsessed with my blogging stats. I can’t stop checking what the latest numbers reveal. If I am on my laptop and trying to get some work done, I’ll talk myself into just taking a quick look, but then 30 minutes slip by before I return to my work. If I’m driving somewhere and get a traffic light, I quickly take out my phone and open up the WordPress app. And more and more often the person behind me beeps because the light is now green. When I’m sitting at home watching TV, I’ll check my stats every two minutes, knowing that likely nothing has changed. But I end up having no idea what the TV show was about.
I also realize the stats mean nothing, it’s not like I’m blogging for money (we’d be bankrupt if I was). But it’s gotten to the point where the stats are all I think about. My wife will start telling me about her day, while in my mind I’m trying to estimate how many views I’ll have by the end of the week. Is there a way I can break away from this obsession? I’m worried I might start missing work because I’ll want to stay at home all day and just look at my stats. By the way, in case you are interested, I just hit an all-time high of five views the other day, and I am now up to two followers. I would be really honored if you would follow me. Thanks, Anonymous
And here was Dan’s response:
I would not worry about it; I am obsessed with my stats as well. That’s why I am always happy when you feature one of my posts, since I know it will lead to a significant rise in my own stats. I think what you are suffering from is a sense of guilt; what I often suggest in such situations is to set goals for yourself not related to blogging, but when you achieve them, reward yourself with some stat-checking time.
For example, if you are in the middle of doing work, set a goal of not checking your stats for 10 minutes. If you are successful, reward yourself with 60 minutes of stat-checking time. When you are stuck at a light, set a goal of no more than three beeps from the car behind you when the light turns green. Reward yourself with a coffee from Wawa and sit in the parking lot drinking your coffee and checking your stats. And while watching TV, set a goal of trying to remember at least one of the plot lines. If you can successfully tell your spouse what the plotline is, reward yourself with some stat checking time until the next commercial comes along. You don’t want to miss the commercials.
OK, I gotta go, I have to check my stats… Dan
P.S. here is the link to the real Dan Ariely’s latest column
*image from Deviant Art