Below are some of the biggest time wasting activities for me and some other bloggers I know.
Surfing: Nothing is more fun than surfing for new post ideas and it’s easy to go overboard. When it comes to surfing or researching blog topics set strict limits in order to stay on task and on time.
Skype: I LOVE Skype. I love that I can use it to chat with friends and co-workers. I love the break it provides. I love that I can hop on at anytime and find someone to hear me out when I have good news or bad. The downside is that Skype is a little too much fun for some of us. I’ll stay on too long if I let myself and never get a smack of work done. That said during the work day I used to leave Skype off. This is a little bit of a problem though since some of my clients actually use Skype for business – i.e. they really need me for actual work-related issues.
Now I leave it on Do Not Disturb but check my alerts. I still have to be disciplined because sometimes I’ll see that someone cool Skyped for a general chat and the urge to hit them back is strong but most of the time this works better for me than leaving my Skype on available and trying to ignore it. If you do this let actual clients know when you’re on Skype. For example, I tell my clients, “I’m on Do Not Disturb so I can work but if I see an alert from you I’ll answer.” Then said clients know I’m not trying to ignore them. Another helpful thing you can do is turn off sound alerts.
Logging in and out… and in… and out: If you write for many clients or social network for clients you spend a lot of time logging in and out. In and out of dashboards, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts, forums and more. While logging in and out of one place may take seconds it can really add up when you’re doing it all day long. To save time you can save passwords (just change them frequently), use services like twhirl to manage multiple social networking accounts, feed posts automatically to Twitter or Facebook
Forums: I rarely if ever visit AND comments at personal forums (like for blogging advice) or group chats anymore. I like both and they can be a good source of support but they simply waste more time than I have. I have a rule for forums now called the you can read but not respond rule. In my experience I can gain ideas and support from forums and group chats without being totally immersed in them. You start debating, chatting and you know… it just gets out of control. I set aside a little me time each week to catch up on my reading at places like this, but I very rarely get involved. Also, while I used to visit many forums and chats now I only visit ones that stay mostly on topic.
Images: Good lord. I’ve wasted more time on finding images for posts than I care to admit. I have two time-wasting image issues.
I think I need the best image ever for each post – I don’t. You don’t. A good image is nice; but perfect is pushing it. Give yourself a time limit on image searches and stick to it.
I really want to post about something and there’s no image – I write for one blog that only accepts posts with images BUT they want a really obscure image size (long in width and short in height). That doesn’t always work. Especially since this client also wants a bunch of images per post. So, I’ll find the coolest product ever and there will be no images suitable for it – or images that no amount of editing will fix. I used to scurry around all over trying to find an image that will work. Now I don’t. It’s not worth my time. If I find a product with a bunk image I either email the company and try to get an image or ditch the idea.
Time wasters that aren’t really time wasters and how to minimize their impact…
- Reading blogs
- Reading news
- Chatting with PR people
- Social networking
- Coffee breaks, walk breaks, what have you
I see the above noted as blogger time wasters often but while they can be time wasters I don’t agree that you should ditch these tasks. You do need to read news and blogs in your niche. You do need to make friends with PR people because they can provide you with valuable post ideas. Social networking; well, that’s a given and little breaks keep your head in the clear. In order to minimize the time you waste with these activities you should include all of these tiny tasks on your blog schedule.
What is wasting your time during the blog day and how do you solve it?