One day I listened to an episode of Framgångspodden (I think it was episode 124) and host Alexander Pärleros said something about habits. He stated that, to make something a habit, you would need to to it for 21 days in a row. In that moment, I did not really care if that was true or not. But I cared about my blog. In fact, I wanted to delete it. When I logged in, I found too many good drafts to waste. So I decided to give it one last try: Blog for 21 days in a row and see how it goes. Here is how it went.
Before I even started, I updated my About me and my Twitter profile, where I wanted to share each article. And I invented the concept of sallies and drafts, categories for blog posts which allowed my to flag them in a specific way. I remembered from earlier blogging attempts that it took me such a long time to publish things, because I wanted them to be perfect. Drafts and sallies are about the opposite: getting out quick thoughts and unfinished content I can continue to work on.
My first post was in fact a sally, a short post about a thought I had on systematic interviewing in selection processes. It represents the way my brain works when reading “business” books (I tend to group my books in business/leisure, I am not sure if that makes sense to everybody. Generally, the leisure ones I read without taking notes and the aspiration to understand and reflect everything in detail. Concentrated vs. relaxed reading you might call it): I read approaches and I immediately want to try them out in particular work or private situations.
As I like to re-use my own content, my second post was an adapted version of an assignment for a knowledge management class. It is fun to read through the text again and adapt it for a different audience. Indeed, a change a lot of phrases and words, and I like it much better know. Compared to the first post, it took my longer to write this one, but I enjoyed taking the time.
The third post about language requirements in recruiting became the first draft I published. It still is today because I try to condense so many thoughts and insights from a distance course I took about language, recruiting and diversity. It’s no wonder that a later blog post (post 7) is actually my final assignment for this course. (This post is – until now – the only post written in Swedish, too.)
In the four posts afterwards (4th, 5th, 6th and 7th) I discuss more practical things: how to prepare applicants for video interviews and how I taught myself the basics of Adobe Captivate (and I am looking forward to polishing that e-learning module one day). What I learned about Digital Storytelling and my tips on how to enhance virtual collaboration in global teams.
The first week was over and I couldn’t believe that I actually had published more posts in one week than in total during the last two years. I realized that once I had a great thought I wanted to write about, it was quite easy to write down the text and publish it. I received some likes and shares on WordPress and Twitter. But another reflection was that I did not write for others to like my posts. I write to share my thoughts and ideas. The process of writing them down and having everything in one place structures my thoughts. Sharing my work is a nice by-product and a great way to show others what I like to think about.
The second week started with a post about workplace literacy. An assignment from my Master’s degree studies which I wanted to re-post. Day nine brought a sally on evidence-based and research-based HR whereas I shared my feedback routines on day 10. My first research article review was published on day 11. Day 12 was a milestone as it was the beginning of my first blog post series (so far) on how to dig into research (Part I) and how to become friends with research (Part II, blog post #15). Day 13 was meta-day: I decided to write a review of a review article before I published a draft on how to support language learners in social situations.
How to share my blog posts became a second routine. I thought about hashtags and categories, added a picture to make them look more appealing and shared each and every post on Twitter. It was really pleasing to see fourteen posts lining up one after another. Some days, I published two posts because there was not enough time the day before. After fourteen days I finally found it easier to identify topics to write about. It’s the same topics I enjoy reading about, listening to and discussing with others. The topics I really burn for.
As I already wrote about, the third week started with Part II of my “becoming friends with research series”. I am thinking about a third one right now (a good sign, I guess). In the 16th post I shared my favorite podcast episodes from 1.5 years of commuting to work. #17 – A reflection on behaviors I want to keep and phrases I do not want to repeat. For post 18 I couldn’t not hold myself but wrote about another buzzword: my own take on diversity. A year ago I went on a special journey and you can read about it in post 19. And finally, post 20 is a cover letter to a recruiter based on my 80 unsuccessful applications.
But what about post 21? You are reading it now (I know, technically I cheated, so it should be called the 20+1 blog post challenge). So this post marks the end of a successful 21 days challenge.
What do I want to do next? I want to continue with this blog in my own special way. Knowing that their are drafts to work on and things to write about. If 21 days are enough to make something a habit? I don’t know. But I know that it’s enough to find out if you like something or not. What will be your 21 day challenge?