The Time Sink That’s Killing Your Productivity

on Apr 6th, 2014 | in Editorial | 1 Comment

I have a confession to make. I’m a stat-aholic. If you’re like me, you already know you have a problem. At first, you told yourself that you were keeping in tune with your shop. Who can run a successful shop without seeing where visitors are coming from, right? Now you check stats so often that they haven’t changed since your last check. That itself means more stat-checking, of course – why isn’t anyone viewing my shop? Better check a few more times to make sure something isn’t wrong.

Etsy shop stats aren’t the only thing to keep up with. There’s Facebook likes, retweets and follows on Twitter – if you’ve set up Google Analytics on Etsy, kiss your night goodbye. I have my own special sinkhole checking TreasuryBox stats. It’s time to admit that we need help. It’s time to realize that you are not your stats.

Who doesn’t like having their items favorited, or want to know where an unexpected wave of views came from? It’s a little stroke to the ego, a nice pat on the back. It’s also nearly meaningless. How many sales have resulted from obsessively checking your stats? Be honest – no hand-waving about how you have more traffic due to your social media presence. How many hours have been whittled away that could have gone to more products, better photos, or even a good night’s sleep?

I talked to a shop owner recently who didn’t realize her item was on the front page. I wondered if perhaps she was from Mars. I’ve been on the front page and let me tell you, that is a stat-aholic’s shining moment. It struck a chord and left me in a moment of reflection. Her shop is wildly successful, she lists new items all the time and gushes creativity. She checks her stats maybe once a week, if she remembers.

What is so important? What is it really that I need to know more than a few times a day? It’s easy to imagine that making the rounds only takes a few minutes, no big deal – right? Except now you have to go back to writing the blog article you were working on, or thinking creatively about a new item. Losing your train of thought and regaining it has turned that few minutes into 15 or 20 minutes of lost productivity. Stat interruptions are a crutch for me – I run into a sentence I don’t know how to word, or feel a creative block, and rather than push through I jump for a distraction.

I know I have a problem. The first step is acceptance. I have a challenge for you, and for myself. Stop checking your stats. Block yourself, if necessary – get something like StayFocusd for Chrome, or ColdTurkey for Windows. Social media is a little harder, since you don’t want to ignore it entirely; set up a limit with those programs so that you can only check it once an hour.

Do it for a week and see if you feel like your business is crumbling. I’m going to place an early bet on a resounding no. I think we’ll both be pleasantly surprised by how much time we have to get things done. We’ll start to wonder what was so urgent about those stats.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to check my stats.

Cover image by Everjean on Flickr.
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One Response

  1. Kelly T says:

    oh dear
    I’ve been busted!

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