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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!

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15 thoughts on “Time Management

  1. I find myself doing the same thing…with blogging, my business, my work, EVERYTHING. I’ve learned to make TO DO lists and concentrate on one task at a time. Not always easy…because well, I’m a spaz.

    I always love reading your blog! It’s to the point that I can’t drink my coffee until I settle in and start reading your entries. Thanks for the added addiction! Not like I don’t have plenty! lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    ~Jaime
    http://www.ChaseNKids.com

  2. I find myself doing the same thing with email, twitter, my reader, and writing posts. I am wondering what is going to happen when I go back to school in the fall since I’ve spent a lot of time on the computer recently and will be limited then. I am going to go check out some of your links to see if I can put something together. I do use G-mail, but don’t know anything about their filter system so I’m going to go check that out too. Thanks for the tips.

  3. This used to work great for me and I continue to do it at home but once I got a job that deals with supporting customer issues I had to get used to a new work flow.

    I can’t turn off email or IM and focus on one batch of tasks at a time because if a critical issue comes up I have to drop what I’m doing and jump. It took me a year to get used to this but I’m adapting.

  4. Thanks for all the great links. I know what you mean, it’s easy to get distracted. I am always answering emails right away that can really wait.

  5. Great articles. Thanks for the links.

    I think it all comes down to being purposeful. It’s so easy to answer the siren call of the urgent and instant. But we rarely move ahead with that approach.

    I try to block off a few hours every day to do my online things (blogging, commenting, e-mailing, etc.). And then I try to leave the computer alone for a while and focus on other things. (It helps tremendously if I just leave the house.) It’s been a huge step forward in productivity and mental energy.

  6. I saw that post too at 101, and thought of you!

    As long as you don’t get distracted from my re-design I don’t mind (LOL!).

    So, stop reading these comments and GET BACK TO WORK ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Great ideas… this things can certainly tend to get the best of us. Sometimes I tell myself it’s all okay, because it’s like a job, then remember that, oh yeah!, the plan was for me NOT to work so I can focus on the kids. Ha. I forgot.

  8. Thanks so much for the great links with idess! I am going to try to implement some of them myself! I am glad you got some extra time…could be useful to make me some more buttons! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. You are a very busy woman and seem so put togehter (at least from what I read on your blog). Congrats…not everyone can function with that much activity, while others thrive like you!

  10. Thanks for the link to the gmail thing. There are some things I really don’t like about gmail that I like about yahoo (I can’t open more than one window at a time,and I’m always multitasking in my inbox), but I know I haven’t even dipped into the possibilities.

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