I must admit, I haven’t got this time management concept completely cracked. When I am writing time seems to warp, I appear to go from 10am to 9pm without blinking. Because of this affliction I have been trying to find some ways to make my use of time more efficient, here is what I have managed to come up with so far.
My first job in the morning is spent catching up. Over night I will have a few dozen emails, hundreds of posts to read in my feed reader, advertising accounts, revenue stats, etc etc. This can take anything from an hour to two hours. Next if I haven’t been inspired already by what I have read then I need to think up ideas for post topics. Nick has already corrected us that too much RSS reading can be self-defeating so I am trying to moderate how much feed reading I do, or at least stick to the quality stuff.
I like to post a couple of in-depth posts here, between a thousand and two thousand words each. The reviews took half a day each because they were so labor and research intensive but I can do about a thousand words an hour on average. You can see that doesn’t leave much time for the rest of my commitments. As they say, time is money, I would say with professional blogging it is almost literally true!
My tips can basically be narrowed down to three steps:
I’m sure you will agree I need to gain control and be more efficient. First I need to drop any unnecessary tasks. Out go the off-topic and fun blogs from my main OPML (can read those at the weekend). My adsense account doesn’t grow so quickly I need to check every ten minutes.
A good tip from time management experts is to keep track of your daily activity in a log, you will soon see where your time is going.
Don’t give up everything that gives you pleasure, reading the Dilbert cartoon isn’t going to break your time bank! You just need to judge what you do based on
- Non-essential but Beneficial
Be strict with each activity and place it into one of those three containers and act on the feedback it provides you with.
Are there jobs that you are doing that do not make sense for you to do? There might be tasks that take a lot of time that are better or more cheaply done by others. Many people pay for their content to be written and place their own role as editor. If you are better at selection and improving rather than creating from scratch you ought to consider it. I have delegated looking after admin, such as taxes and bills to my wife. It also means she can be paid a wage so between us we pay less income taxes – double benefit!
If you have a leaky roof then it probably needs looking at right away but rather than fix it yourself you would be better paying an expert, you might find their hourly rate works out less than yours and can do a better job! I often say “if a job is worth doing it is worth paying for” ;O)
Make sure everyone knows when you are working and that you need to work. Negotiate with your family, friends and others who call on your time. Yes you need quality time with people (otherwise you will just go quietly mad) but they can not barge in and interrupt any time the mood takes them.
People tend to see their own needs as important or urgent. Find out if something is absolutely necessarily got to be done when they say it has. Amazing how often something they need to discuss right away really doesn’t, often the task is not even necessary.
Do you need to be the one who does the household chores? Would it hurt for them to be put off and scheduled to a later date?
Using these techniques I am just about coping but my situation is far from ideal and only likely to get more demanding. You can tell I am by no means an expert time manager so please give me the benefit of your experience, how do you manage your time?