Darren Rowse’s undisciplined productivity

This is one in a series of interviews of notable bloggers in the Zen Habits Golden Goals series.

Darren Rowse, an Australian blogger who makes six figures doing what he does, is the co-founder of the b5 media network of blogs, and truly inspires other bloggers with his wildly successful ProBlogger.net blog.

This was a fantastic interview that I’m sure you’ll enjoy, as it gives some great productivity tips (love his Monday Morning Writings) and some insight into a successful blogger.

1) What would you consider your greatest achievement in the last few years? Feel free to add other achievements or goals if you’d like.

Difficult question Leo. I don’t generally think about the things that I do as achievements or failures explicitly and tend to take things a day at a time and then move on.

I guess if I had to name one thing it’d be that every few days I get emails from readers thanking me for something that I’ve written that has in some way helped them in some aspect of their life (big or small). My whole philosophy (or ‘mission’) in life is to be involved in helping people around me (whether that be physically or virtually) to live life to the full and reach their potential. I’m glad that I’m in a position to see this happen as a reality.

2) What was the key to achieving that success for you? Was there one thing, or were there a number of factors?

There have been many many small things that have come into play over the last few years that enable me to have the influence that I currently do through my blogs. These range from luck, to hard work, to some creative thinking, to the great advice and support of friends and family to the fear of failure.

3) What are the essential habits that you’ve formed to help you achieve your goals?

I’m one of the most undisciplined people you’ll meet (or have a history of being one) and am incredibly spontaneous and often work out of this.

However I have developed a few rhythms that have helped me to be more productive and keep moving forward including:

Apart from that – I’m a pretty disorganized fellow and am learning to go with my strength (of spontaneity).

4) How often do you think about your goals, review them, and take action on them?

Not a whole lot.

I do have a few big picture goals but nothing that are formal or even written down.

I do try to put time aside from time to time to think about my life, business and where it’s all headed and to set myself things to do – but it’s a fairly relaxed process and I do a lot of it intuitively on the fly.

5) Describe how you overcome failure, how you pick yourself back up if you are struggling, and how you motivate yourself if your enthusiasm is lagging.

Failure sucks but as I get older I’m finding that I’m able to deal with it better and better (most days). I guess the attitude that I’m attempting to live with is that failure can actually be an opportunity. Sometimes it’s in the death of an idea or the collapsing of a project that something new emerges that is better than I’d had before. It’s also an opportunity to grow as a person.

Don’t get me wrong – failure still hurts – but I’m getting better at not letting myself get too bogged down in it and tend to move on to new things reasonably quickly.

6) Could you describe your productivity system and any productivity tips you have for people?

There’s really no system to it. I do what gives me energy, follow hunches and attempt to find people to work with to complement my skill set (i.e. do what I’m not good at).

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Others in the Golden Goals series: