Time Management

So the blue skirt went back last night.  I think I literally snorted when the guy at the register gave me this incredulous look and said, "Seriously?  We can’t keep these in the store!"  Maybe I should have put it up on ebay and hoped for a bidding war.

Any-WHO.

I get a lot of people saying to me lately, "I don’t know how you do it all."  And I admit, running 3 blogs, writing for a 4th, and operating a design business is practically a full-time job.

I thrive on being busy, and I love to be on the computer.  I have to force myself to get up and do other things.  But I’m discovering lately that my inefficiency is getting the better of me in more ways that one.

Most days, I find myself going back and
forth between blog designing, reading and responding to emails, writing
blog posts, editing guest posts for Chic Critique, twittering, reading and commenting on blogs from my RSS reader, and checking
my Yahoo! Group (a group of cyber-friends that I met on a birth board at BabyCenter.com 9 years ago!)  I often have 4 or 5 (or 10) tasks going
simultaneously.

When I have several activities going at once, and the kids or the husband inevitably need me to hop up and help them out, it’s very hard to break away and even harder to get back into the groove and pick up where I left off on all the tasks when I get back to the computer.

Sometimes, when I’m really feeling efficient, I will write a bunch of blog posts at once.  I often do this for Chic Critique because that is the one that tends to creep up on me, and it’s also the easiest one to prepare in advance.  Other times, when I realize the emails and tweets are distracting me from the design work or blogging that needs to be done, I’ll get smart and turn off the email and Twitter.  But all too often I let those little dings distract me, and every time a new email or tweet comes through, I hop right over to check them out and respond.  Which of course interrupts my train of thought or the design job at hand.  All of these interruptions are time eaters.

Last weekend I read this interesting and informative article by Problogger on being more efficient.  (Hat tip to Scribbit.) 
I really need to take a lesson from this.  I think "Batch Processing" would SERIOUSLY improve my efficiency and state of mental health.  Darren describes himself as impulsive and flexible and says that he doesn’t have a set routine that he follows every day, (and that is totally me) but that Batch Processing has gone a long way towards helping him organize his time and making him more efficient.

Along with that, I really enjoyed this post last week at Blogging Basics 101. 
I already jot things down on our family calendar, but I think I need to start a separate "editorial calendar" and then combine that with the
batch processing techniques described by Problogger.

I’ve also followed Problogger’s instructions on moving all my email activity to my gmail account.  I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time, but I finally sat down and took care of it.  If you aren’t taking advantage of gmail’s filtering system, you should be!  It’s awesome.

I’m by no means a Pro Blogger, but these tips and tricks have gone a long way already towards helping me be more efficient with my time.  And the best part is, that leaves more time for my family and friends — who, after all, ARE the most important thing!