04 March 2010

time management

i turned to the experts for more on the topic of time, they weigh in on the issues. how do you deal with the inevitable trap of wasting time while being online? what are your best tips in time management? here are their wise answers.

I list the things I want to accomplish, and then try to do them in order of their priority. My priorities change from day to day. If I have an appointment at 10:00 AM, getting ready for the day is a top priority. If I want to clean my closets, getting ready for the day is bumped down the list. I try to be realistic, and schedule some down time between big things, so I don't resent life or the people I love.
- marty | travelin' oma

This is a challenge for us all - there is so much inspiration out in blog-land and too much can be overwhelming and a major time suck. My suggestion is to limit the number of sites you read/visit. Easier said than done, right? But about a year ago, I went through my google reader and deleted most of them. I kept about 25 (that I will switch up now and again). That # works for me in terms of weekly reading that I can manage. I avoid facebook like the plague. Seriously, I go on it about once a month if that (and inactivate my account for months on end). I spend about 1 minute on twitter each day. Anymore than that and my head spins. I only blog or read blogs while my kids aren't around (napping or at school). I try not to waste any "family time" on the computer. Just turn it off. ;)
- jenny | LobotoMe.com

I set aside time in the morning to do all my blogging for the day to come. I write all of my posts up, code them and then set them up to release throughout the day. I've found that helps me a lot. I am guilty of checking my Reader several times a day, but normally I'll set a goal such as "When it gets to 20 unread items I'll take a minute and look." That sort of thing. I also have Twitter open in my browser throughout the day, but have found the interaction with other to actually be inspiring instead of a hindrance or distraction.
- Kelly | Design Crush

I get online early in the morning before my family gets up and once they do, my time is up or else I would be reading and commenting on blogs all day long! When it comes to updating my website and etsy shop with new work, I set aside an afternoon for just that: taking photos, creating jpgs, writing content. It is important to stay focused on what needs to get done in a day to keep moving forward. What works for me is a realistic to do list with just a few things on it that I know I can complete within a day or two. The sense of accomplishment is a big motivator.
- karyn | den10studio

Perusing the internet and getting lost online is something that happens all too often for me. However, about three weeks ago, my computer started acting up and eventually died on me...smoke coming out and all, so I had a reality check on my computer time. I realized that I do spend lots of unnecessary time online, but I also spend very valuable time online. I am so inspired by various sites and blogs that I do think it is absolutely necessary to spend some time each day online, but it becomes a matter of monitoring that time. During the afternoon, if the stars align themselves right, my two younger boys will nap at the same time and this is my online/internet exploring time. This is also the time of day that I indulge in my daily Starbucks coffee, so I allow myself this time while I am enjoying my coffee to check in on my favorite sites and blogs for my daily dose of inspiration and connection to the outside world. When my coffee is all gone, then it is back to reality and work time, etc.
- melissa deakin photography

Use your time online for researching, emailing, or social networking. Keep a limit on it. Set a timer. Have a phone reminder for when to get on and then only stay online for a predetermined amount of time. I wish I had more time to spend online :) Remember that we blog about real life. So make sure to have a real life.
- brittany | one charming party

This is a tough one for me that I still have to work at. It is amazing how you can be sucked into the vortex of the blog world only to surface finding hours have past and you have yet to brush your teeth. Here are a few ideas that have helped me:

* The most important thing I have done is learn to set a timer. When I know I only have a certain amount of time I tend to use it more wisely.
* I start with a list of things I need to accomplish before I open my laptop, far to often I start with good intentions head to the website I need, then click on a link, and another and before I know it I have forgotten what I set out to do. So if I have it wrote down it keeps me on track.
* I use online tools such as Delicious, Google alerts (a must), and Gmail to help me organize and simplify.
* Add Shareaholic to your top tool bar, it helps to have all your favorite resources in one place.
* Keep your email organized. Use folders for subjects, stars for important emails that you need to attend to later, and labels for better identification.
- destri | the mother huddle

i try to keep my circle of online stops a small one, and i have started to set a time limit for sitting in front of google reader. this means frequently sorting my blog subscriptions and slimming down. this even means refusing to jump on the twitter bandwagon, as much as i would like to. and one more thing: i steer clear of spending time on the computer once my husband is home from work. when he is home, i want to be home. present, available, and undistracted.

on the note of general time management, my sure-fire strategy has always been the to-do list. it keeps me moving. i couldn't go a day without rolling through my chores, checking boxes as i go.
- summer harms

Well, the internet is a good/bad entity. It's easy to get lost, but sometimes the getting lost takes you to just the right tidbit (unless you're lost on Facebook). I try not to wander around the internet until my work is done. My life has changed a lot since I started my businesses. I now have two busy toddlers and need to find ways to get work done in shorter blocks of time. I'm a big list maker. That said - I usually skim the easy tasks and procrastinate on the big things until there's a bit of an urgency to them. It's not pretty, but I work best that way.
- kal | love life

I have a favorite trick to avoid wasting time while online. When I sit down to my laptop, I try to make the first thing I do be the one thing I'm dreading the most. I don't even have to check my to-do list, I always know what that one thing is. Once that is over, everything else will often fall into place. I find that my blogging will fill every minute of the time I leave open for it. So I try to appreciate the crazy weeks in my life, because they show me what the essential tasks for my blog really are.
- amber | givers log

thank you for enlightening us, panelists. tune in tomorrow for the grand reveal of my craft closet. yes, i finally made time for cleaning out the junk and organizing the good stuff!!! i believe you must have space for your businessing efforts to succeed. you need space to give your ideas room to breathe.


Anonymous said...

Time management is my downfall, Thank you for the tips I will try some of the ideas that are presented here and see which one works best for me!

[eeny] said...

Yeah for time management... I definitely need to work on that part. Thanks panelists for your tips.

Hil said...

time management totally takes some self control! love these tips.

Rebecca B. said...

This is so helpful. I need to learn to rein in my "surfing the net" time.

Emily said...

Marta - thanks so much for all the effort you put into this series. It has been so well done - great topics, great panelists, helpful advice...

Time management is so key - I appreciate how most of the panelists have timers set to keep their online browsing under control. It is easy to melt the whole day lost on the interweb. :)

It's been an inspiring week and given me a lot to think about. (and I'm not even a serious blogger!) Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I have somehow managed to succeed at life while being terrible at time management. It is an ongoing struggle.

Thanks so much for the tips panelists! And of course, Marta you are wonderful.

Also, I am SO EXCITED for the reveal of your craft closet! I keep telling my boyfriend that once we graduate from law school and settle in once place I MUST have a craft closet.

Anonymous said...

All these ring so true! Especially "It is amazing how you can be sucked into the vortex of the blog world only to surface finding hours have past and you have yet to brush your teeth." OMG as if I was writing the sentence! Nice advice, everyone seems to agree on the timer, heehee :)

Chelsea said...

This is one of my biggest problems! I want to stay up to date on everything, but sometimes, life gets in the way!

Tarsila Kr├╝se said...

Thanks so much panelists, it makes me feel like I'm not the only one...
As I can see, time management is a skill and as for all skills it can be learned, right? It isn't easy buy hey, we CAN DO IT! Let's give it a try and get wisely lost in the net! :)

Wendy said...

Love all the great ideas. My two goals for limiting my Internet time right now are having a list of places to visit before I get on the computer and have no computer time around the kids and/or husband. I also love doing my worst task first--it's always such a relief to get it over with.

Kylie said...

All wonderful advice, but I love this "Remember that we blog about real life. So make sure to have a real life."!

Tiffany said...

GREAT tips! Thanks to all!

Eliza said...

Some days I am really great at reigning in my online time and managing well. And other days... yikes, not.at.all. and those are the days that my kids are unhappy, I'm unhappy, etc. So thank you for all the advice presented in this post!

I loved the panelist that said: "Remember that we blog about real life. So make sure to have a real life."

I have sitting above my computer screen a quote by M. Russell Ballard that says, "Virtual reality must not become [our] reality."

melissa deakin said...

hi m!
this workshop is just fantastic!
you are just amazing to have done all of this. the internet has been abuzz about it and that is just awesome.
you are such an inspiration to so many and so very helpful.
thanks so much for including me.

the Hawks said...

It's so interesting that so many experts use a timer for online activity. My particular favorite of the day: doing the dreaded deed first. Very smart, productive, and even a little funny!

Dayka Robinson said...

i loved your closing comments the best, and that's the biggest thing i'm trying to embrace right now. just found your blog yesterday and i love it!

Megan said...

Love all these tips. I wrote a few down that I will be trying this week. :) Great idea on setting a timer!

Katherine said...

I have often wondered how work-at-home moms and wives stay on top of everything when I can barely do it without children yet. These were fabulous tips and I must learn to use a timer. Sounds like that was a favorite trick. Thanks!

AmberLee said...

Okay, this topic (and the reveals from everyone) is an absolute favorite. I felt like I was getting to peek at the man behind the curtain. Thank you, thank you for this much needed therapy!

Sarah said...

I agree - I can get totally caught up for a long time online. between twitter, blogs, and formspring, I could be on all day. (But I'm not) These are some great ideas and tips.

Anonymous said...

I use the "open in tabs" bookmark bar option constantly. To ensure I get out of the house in a reasonable time in the morning, or don't over extend my lunch break, I have my blogs separated down into "morning", "midday", "evening" and "weekly" folders (based on the usual update patters of the blogger). And I only have 4 blogs each in the morning and midday categories.

This works well for me as I prefer reading blogs on the web and not in a feed reader. People have put a lot of time and effort in to the look of their blog, and I do find that it adds to my experience. Also, that way I am not distracted every time there is a new post or an update. The only blogs I have in my reader are blogs I want to keep up with but don't update all that frequently.

Travelin'Oma said...

This is so timely! I have completely lost track of time today. Thanks for making this bit of blog-time so worthwhile.

hillarah said...

am LOVING your workshop. thank you for all your advice and tips!
have just one last minute question: what do you do with your blog and store when you go on vacation?
thank you for everything!

Em-Jae said...

Melissa's and Brittany's suggestions really spoke to me -- I always find myself clicking away, only to look at the clock three hours later and GASP at the amount of time I have spent doing, really, nothing...

I really like Brittany's
"make sure you have a real life" comment. Well said.

Thanks again for sharing!!

Susan said...

Thank you Marta, for this entire blog workshop. I am finding the information invaluable and am so grateful you are sharing this with us. I've been a follower for some time after my daughter, Christine, turned me on to your blog. Well done! Warmest regards, Susan

Kathy said...

Thank you so much for putting together this online wealth of information. It has been so inspiring to read how other women are able to accomplish so much while balancing work and family.

Amanda said...

This has been my favorite post so far. I always struggle with time management and always willing to hear what others have worked out.

Hannah said...

For me, the computer has to be OFF when I am done with the necessary or those unread blog posts and emails will nag at me.

I recently set times during the day for myself to be on the computer. When the time is up, the computer is turned off. It is amazing how much longer the day seems and how much more I am able to get done. (I hope I can keep it up!)

Great advice.

A'n'G Johnson said...

Thank you for taking the time (no pun intended!) to get all these different perspectives and suggestions from others!

Monica said...

my current corporate job ends March 26th so i will have to use these tips with time management when i am a stay-at-home-mommy/homemaker/etsy shop owner. i am so stoked!

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