Split testing your life

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This article will look at how we can use a method that internet marketers use to test and make changes to their online campaigns to get better results.   We can use the same methods to improve our lives and it's one which can have a huge impact which I have discovered over the last few months.

What is split testing?

split_testingPutting it simply, imagine you have a page where you are selling a product you are promoting.   You promote using adwords and social media.   Okay, so have the sales page and there is traffic coming to it, you are using this as the base sales page to measure against.  You then make another sales page which is exactly the same except this time you change the headline on that sales page.   You then drive traffic to the two sales pages and find out which one performs better i.e. which brings in the most sales or the most signups to your newsletter.   You then take the best performing sales page and use that as your base sales page.   You then make another sales page and make it exactly the same except you change a graphic and then find out which ones performs better.   You keep doing this until you have optimised your sales page.   Yes it takes time but you will see your sales gradually going up over time.

How you can apply this principle to your life

This is a very powerful way to change your life for the better and sometimes you can often see results within a few days.   The truth is if you keep doing what you've always been doing you will always get the same results.   So if you are getting crappy results from something in your life it's time to change something that you're doing in that particular area.

This might not make much sense to a lot of people so I will give you an example from my own split testing.

Example 1:

Rich Schefren has found a statistic that states that a lot of people spend more time on their emails than they do with their kids.   This is a quite sad, but in people's quest to become independent and start their own business it's very true in a lot of cases.   I know I spend a lot of time with emails, I have around 20 websites, only about 5 that I really work on and I check my emails as they come in and deal with them there and then.   The first thing I did was check how much time I spend on my emails each day, I don't mean opening them and reading them I mean opening, reading and acting on them i.e. check out a website someone has sent me a link to.

The results for 1 week astounded me.   I spent, in 1 week, 12 hours dealing and acting on emails "“ 12 hours! I found that a disgusting statistic.   For that same week I spent 9 hours purely with my children, that is going out with them alone, or sitting down with them at dinner, taking them to school, sitting with them for their homework, fooling around and watching TV.   I have my laptop downstairs and work all night so my wife and children always have access to me but that's not what I am talking about here I am talking spending time away from the computer and with my children.   Only 9 hours with my children as opposed to 12 hours on my emails.  I did spend more hours with my wife but not that much.

So, split testing this.   The next week I checked my emails midday and at 4pm.   I deleted all the emails that would not drive me forward on my online business quest or bring in more money.   I kept the personal ones and dealt with them there and then but all the other ones, if they did not drive my business forward or did not bring in more money I deleted them.   This meant deleting the next big marketing ebook promotion, deleting the cool link to a youtube video, deleting the cool website link that someone sent me, deleting the newsletters I am subscribed to and deleting the ones that promise me an extra 2 inches.

The end result:

chart on split tsting

You'll see from the chart that I spent a lot more time with my children and I certainly was a lot happier and felt a lot better by being away from the computer.   My children, I hope, were a lot happier at spending more time with me.

Now, I have a base measurement I can work with.   The best result was spending 5 hours on email and 14 hours with my children.   I now work with this and try and find ways to spend even less time on email, this could be done by hiring a virtual assistant to screen my emails but I am not at that stage yet but you get what I mean.

Example 2:

I used to have a terrible time getting my children up for school in the morning.   I would wake them up to 7am, wake them up again at 7.05am and then start shouting at 07.10am at 07.15am we had fell out, my children might be in a bad mood, I would be pissed off and by the time everybody was ready we might be late for leaving for school at 08.10am.

This went on for months before I tried waking them up at 06.45am.   I would wake them up gently, give them a hug and ask if they wanted an extra 5 minutes, I would wait until they confirmed that they wanted an extra 5 minutes.   I would then give them 10 minutes and wake them up again.   The second time I told them that they had had an extra ten minutes and it was time to get up.   The transformation was amazing, no more shouting in the mornings, no more rushing about and we always get to school on time.   That extra 15 minutes made a huge difference to me and my children in the morning.

With split testing your life you constantly tweak until you get to a result you are happy with.   Another thing you'll notice with split testing your life is that it's got to be measurable, if it's not measurable it's going to be hard to test and change.

Other areas of your life you can split test

  • Your work productivity: Take an area of your work practice and think about how you might improve it and then start your own split test and measure the results.
  • The amount of time with your partner: I personally want to spend more time with my wife but I know a lot of people where that will not a goal.
  • Your relationships: Is spending less time with a particular friend going to make you feel happier and more energetic or does it sadden you when you don't see them "“ split test it.
  • The amount of time spent watching TV (this is a biggy, you can dramatically change your life by spending less time in front of the TV)
  • How you walk: It's true I tried this a few weeks ago.   For 1 day I walked around with my shoulders slumped, I looked at the ground as I walked, I was slightly stooped over and didn't smile a lot.   A little hard to measure but people's reactions to me were a lot different, they didn't speak as much, they asked me what was wrong, I found myself complaining more and bad things seemed to happen to me that day.   The next day I walked head high, chest out, I smiled more.   The result was that people were more receptive, bad things that happened didn't phase me and I was a lot more happier.
  • Your diet: you'll know I have done this over the last few months.   The biggest difference to me was cutting out chips (French fries) from my diet altogether aside from the very occasional MacD'.   Cutting out one thing at a time from your diet will show you what a difference it could make on your overall weight and health.   If you do this, cut out just one thing at a time so you will know if it really is making a difference.

I have found this is a great way to self improvement and can be done on almost any area of your life. I have found that I am much more conscious about how I can improve my life and where it can be improved whereas before I might moan about certain areas of my life and how bad it was.   Now, if I am unhappy about something I try and find a way to improve it.   The more I split test the more I think about ways to improve my life and my families life.

A word of warning, I would only do a few split tests to get you into the swing of things.   Some tests might take a few weeks whilst others might take a few days or even a few hours depending on what it is.   Once you get into the swing of it you will be able to do a lot more and your self improvement will take huge leaps.

Some people do this unconsciously but I hope now that you will see that split testing can be a fantastic self improvement tool.   If you decide to try it or already do it let me know your results, it would be good to know how you get on with this self improvement tool.

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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.