Regain Your Digital Mojo (Commentary)

How long have you been a Web worker? I'm moving into my 14th year as a professional in the new media and digital technology industry, with seven full years at the helm of Website Magazine's editorial department. After thousands of posts and articles on the Web and in print, countless trade shows and speaking engagements and hundreds of phone and video interviews, even the most energetic, creative and determined could find their digital mojo slipping a bit. If you've lost the virtual magic that propels you toward 'Net success, don't worry; you can get it back.

Whatever your area of 'Net specialty, be it design and development or marketing, it's easy to get energized initially by the possibilities and opportunities that routinely emerge - at least for a while. After a steep learning curve, the stagnation plateau always comes and the great decline in digital mojo is then just inevitable. It may take years to manifest, but it happens to everyone (and it's never welcome). If that sounds like your situation, it's time to check your 'Net biorhythms and get your digital mojo back.

First, Take a Digital Mojo Inventory: You are likely not missing all of your digital mojo - just some of it. One of the most important activities Web workers can benefit from is exploring what is working and what is not. Of course, there's no better way to assess your digital mojo levels than through website/business analytics and your direct impact and influence on them. If you want your digital mojo to return to positive levels, you can also ask your coworkers and colleagues what they think about your performance. If they're honest, you'll receive valuable feedback and be able to identify areas where you've been successful and opportunities where you and your skill can develop further.

Then, Modify Work Behavior Dramatically: Routines are good and, well, not good. Routines provide much needed structure, but they can also prevent a Web worker from seeing other innovative possibilities that exist. Often, a loss of digital mojo can be attributed to a routine - so change it! For example, if you find that your content development accelerates at the beginning of a month but trails off at the end, start soliciting contributions for those times when other projects might take precedence. Or take a more physical approach by starting work earlier (or later) or prioritizing tasks based on previous successes.

Next, Change Your Attitude: Having a new way of doing things is not enough to get your digital mojo back. There will come a time when you also need to adjust your attitude. Doing your virtual "work" the same way for an extended period of time prevents you from seeing the change that's occurring all around you. For example, for years, I was convinced that email would eventually take a backseat to social media, but in reality, it's done nearly the opposite. If my attitude hadn't changed (and it was a forced change mind you), there is no question that Website Magazine wouldn't have experienced as much success in our seven years. As a reader of Website Magazine, you're likely leading the digital charge for your enterprise. Others will look to you for guidance and take your words as the absolute law, but that kind of power often leads to overly inflated egos. Question your business beliefs, test everything with regularity and prove your assumptions wrong - and your digital mojo will return faster than a snap of your fingers.

Finally, Extend Your Circles: When you visit the same sites and read the same pundits, you get the same result. When my own creative blocks emerge and the daily routine seems overwhelming, I take a deep breath and take a virtual axe to the subscriptions in my RSS feed reader and email inbox. As I unsubscribe, however, I also search for new sources and subscribe. You work within a fast-moving dynamic industry and new influencers emerge regularly, but you have to be tuned in to notice them. Another option is to extend your social circles. While you should regularly prune those within social media circles, you should invest an equal amount of energy discovering new individuals to participate with and groups to engage in.

Can You Feel the Digital Mojo Returning?
The first step was to prove to yourself that you've done amazing things. The second and third steps are about changing behavior and the fourth is to become reintroduced to what's possible. What's attractive for many about the new media and technology industry is that there's always something to get excited about. There's no one solution to the loss of digital mojo - it takes confidence, it takes a willingness to explore and it takes a commitment to just keep moving.