Learning productivity for founders to gain control over the Red Queen Effect – why I started this blog

That’s me — with my shiny object syndrome

I constantly came across these niche site incomes on my Twitter feed. It was fascinating how simple blogging and plugging it with ad networks was generating amazing passive income for these folks.

I too wanted it – I run a community-led publishing talent marketplace, and I was catering to some niche sites already as clients who were hiring from our talent pool. Now, I wanted one for myself too.

While building merrative, I learned no-code and automation, where I can call myself an expert in the same. But I never monetized this skill as I am too busy running the venture.

So when I started to look for a niche to pick up for the site, I thought I could work on building a niche site in the space of automation. I thought my learned SEO skills being a writer myself in no-code and product management niche would also come in handy.

While I got excited, during the past 2-3 months of writing this blog (August, September, and October 2022), something was off about how I was working and running Merrative, and my daily life in general.

I’ve been feeling lazy and unmotivated lately. I’m procrastinating. And I hate everything about how it feels.

I don’t know, maybe I am just distracted, where I am simply doom-scrolling on Instagram, Netflix, or Twitter instead of picking up a good old book. I mean, I literally run a community in literature and publishing space, and I’ve been hardly reading myself.

In short, I wasn’t feeling productive, and I had not monetized the knowledge of automation that I picked up while building my various maker projects.

I thought a new side project would help (instead of going to therapy lol).

After a lot of thinking, I decided to pick up founder productivity as my niche, and automation as a sub-niche to begin with.

Here’s how I decided to go about this theme – I hope you get insights on picking up a niche for yourself in the process.

What is Red Queen Effect?

Source: Wikipedia

I was searching for a name for the blog and thought I’ll explore some productivity mental models to get some inspiration. While doing so, I stumbled upon Red Queen Effect on the amazing Farnam Street Blog.

The Red Queen Effect highlights the constant pressure to co-evolve with the environment we interact with so that we survive, and hopefully thrive.

Its name comes from the story in the Alice in Wonderland book – about how Alice doesn’t seem to move even though she is running faster. The Red Queen advises her that she has to move at least twice as fast as her surroundings to get anywhere ahead in the world she got caught up in.

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

The Red Queen Effect has a good significance in biology. It indicates how one needs to not only adapt to nature but also stay ahead in order to truly flourish as a species.

As someone who is in the ever-evolving technology space and startup space – this term accurately defined my state of mind. I read more about it to understand it better. Here are some suggested readings:

Journaling to overcome Red Queen Effect

When I read the blog on Farnam Street about the Red Queen Effect, I felt it resonated with my problem of feeling unproductive.

In the world of entrepreneurship and being a maker, one enjoys working and spends a lot of time on their project. It’s easy to feel unproductive amid the chaos of the startup ecosystem.

I too started to feel this way – about how I wasn’t growing fast enough, am I wasting time on Instagram? Is taking time off slowing me down? I felt as if I was running but not getting anywhere like Alice in Wonderland!

As I result, I started procrastinating.

A very good video I came across (thanks to the YouTube amazing recommendation algorithm!) is by TED-Ed which explains procrastination in an empathetic way. I think it is a must-watch – the animations are very creative too.

In this video, some ways suggested by them to overcome distraction and procrastinating, as a result, were to journal and build systems.

I felt these concepts resonated with me and hence decided to create a blog that focuses on productivity and streamlining the same using process automation. Systems building is something that interests me, and I know that it’s key to unlocking massive potential out of anyone or a business.

Hence, the theme of this blog is on founder productivity and building systems to get better using automation.

I think this will be a good passion project for me that scratches my itch, uses my knowledge of SEO, leverages my publishing talent ecosystem with Merrative, and helps me learn automation for personal and business productivity.

I hope being closer to these ideas will help me align and build better, and hence become a better maker. I also hope I inspire you to adopt these methods I learn for your own life, creative making, or business.

If you have any suggestions, or feedback or want to contribute – email harshala@merrative.com

Do you have questions?

Tweet to the author of this guide (me!) for any feedback or follow-ups: @harshalachavan7

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I am also reading non-fiction, especially in the genre of business and productivity. I share lessons via my newsletter – signup to receive the next issue or read previous issues

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