How-to: Stop Wasting Your Time Checking Your Website Stats
I do it too, and I am sure many of you reading this are starting to realize the problem (as highlighted by DailyBlogTips). If you know someone that wastes hours of his or her time checking stats instead of being productive, send them to this page.
Now, you must tell yourself, it just takes 2 seconds to check that number, it does not hurt right? Wrong! There are two main problems with checking your stats all the time:
- It interrupts whatever you are working on right now
- It wastes time, and that time cumulates quickly
Let's try some calculations, let's say you check your stats 10 times a day and it takes 5 min every time (could be a conservative estimate for some of you), and that you are up for work 8 hours a day. You are effectively wasting about 10% of day looking at stats numbers.
It is easier said than done but it is not as hard as quitting smoking! Here are seven tips to help you stop checking your stats:
1. Stay action oriented - Define why you are checking your stats. It probably brings some instant gratification that the article you just posted received thousands of visitors but what would you do once it happens? Are you trying to react in case your server overloads? Ask yourself why and take steps to avoid having to constantly have to wait for a trigger. E.g.: Optimize your website to survive a traffic spike.
2. Set a schedule to check your stats - For example, make it a habit to check your stats only in the morning or after work. If you argue that managing your site is your full-time job, you might have many other tasks to do other than checking your stats.
3. Use alerters and sidebars - Many gadgets are available for Google Desktop Sidebar or Windows Sidebar, however, do not start using a sidebar for the sake of checking your stats, it will not help! As example, I am using Digg Alerter but no sidebar.
4. Use e-mail notifications - If possible, have email digests sent to you instead of having to compulsively visit your reports. If you are watching traffic or load levels, set alerts
5. Delegate the task - If you are not alone in your business, and if you have some authority, have someone else report to you daily or weekly on the stats.
6. Hypnotize yourself - Use the swish method to reprogram your brain. Picture yourself going to check your stats, now instead of seeing yourself going to the website in question, picture a new desired action, such as writing a new blog post.
7. Pick up another online addiction - If all fails, you may have an incurable addictive behavior, why don't you pick up another addiction that is more productive such as posting on forums, commenting on other blogs or becoming a power Digg user.
Types of Addictive Stats
To help you identify what could fall into this category, this list might prove helpful. How many of them are you frequently checking?
- Google AdSense Earnings
- Google Analytics Visitor Stats
- Feedburner's number of RSS Subscribers
- Number of Twitter Followers
- Keyword Rankings
- Number of Affiliate Conversion or Sales
- Number of Page Views
- Whether your site was Digged
- Number of Tweetmeme Retweets
Some Addictions You Should Keep
Since we agree that an addiction on checking your stats all the time is bad for you, there may be some other addictions that might prove useful to you:
- News Feeds and RSS
Because you need to keep yourself up to date with the world in real time
- Investments and Stocks Performance
If you are managing your own investments or if you are an investment banker.
With moderation since acting within a few minutes on emails could be as interruptive as checking your stats. Mind Hacks has a good article on Why email is addictive (and what to do about it).