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ticking time and watch

Photo used under Creative Commons, Flicker.com, kalyan02

Dodging the Time Suck Bullet

We’re talking about time management today. I have two confessions to make. The first is that I “borrowed’ that title from a phrase used by the witty Gloria Richard. Here’s my second confession: Juggling social media is just plain hard. Sometimes, it gets me down. Then I decide to suck it up and either do it or NOT. Whiners don’t make it far.

Sound harsh? A lot of what I put in these posts are my opinions.  Oh, I try to show you all the data-driven decisions that I make.  I also believe that you should prioritize with a list of things you think you can do well and that are important. Then, push the other things aside.  If you can’t keep up with it and maintain sanity, then put it away for now.  So, first I think you make a priority list of tasks that begin with writing and move on with #2, #3, and so forth.

Writing is #1 because if you have nothing written, what could you possibly be promoting? If you have a website/blog, then it may be #2.  Then you might list Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube,  etc.

Here comes the problem. The HUGE problem.  Some things can be a time suck. No, I’m not talking about the writing. Yes, you know I’m referring to social media.  I suggest scheduling and restraints.  And if you can’t control yourself, don’t even start it that day.

Let’s talk about my addictions for a minute. I have an issue with Nutter Butter cookies. If I buy a package, I can’t eat just one. You can put out the Chips Ahoys, the Oreos, and the Lays potato chips and I’m fine. It’s like a Nutter Butter disorder with me…peanut butter crack if you will.  Therefore, I do not place them in my cart at the grocery store. Problem solved.  Likewise,  reality television sucks me in. I love The Bachelor, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and Survivor. Time suck. No more television for me.  In the social media world, Twitter gets me everytime. It sucks me into reading entertaining tweets from people I know and those I have no recollection of following.  Therefore, I avoid Twitter at night when I’m writing. I don’t open it.  You on the other hand may be able to write two pages, tweet five minutes, feel refreshed and go back to the manuscript. You may also be able to resist the open package of Nutter Butters. KNOW THYSELF.

So, my informal schedule is to check Twitter and Facebook while I eat breakfast. I do more tweeting and posting on the weekends or at lunch and work breaks. I use Hootsuite to see my list of tweeters I want to promote with retweets.  I try to make comments with the retweets.  All this adds up to a total of 15 minutes or less a day. If I’m on longer and at night, it’s because I don’t plan to  write.  Goodreads gets even less time from me. Google + gets an occasional glance. LinkedIn gets a visit maybe once a week.

The bulk of my time goes to writing and blogging. I also spend a lot of time reading other blogs. I think Goodreads deserves more time from me, but I will not give it right now.  When I’m able to write faster, I hope to devote myself to book discussions and interactions. In the meantime, I have a reader and author presence, my blog posts feed there, and I check in a couple of times a week.

I have a friend who  has asked me why I bother with  blogging. I think she wonders about the benefit of spending so much time on this platform.  I believe that this is the best way to build a network of writer friends who help you stay sane and support your writing, publishing, and marketing efforts. It’s also a way for readers to become interested in you as a writer. Editors and publishers seem to demand it as well.  How much time do I spend on blogging? Between reading others’ blogs and writing my own posts, I spend at least an hour a day. Most of this occurs before I eat dinner. My nights and weekends are reserved for the WIP.

To summarize, I spend approximately one hour and fifteen minutes a day on social media type tasks.  I work a full-time job and commute 2 hours daily.  I go to the gym for 3-4 hours a week. I only allow myself to read while driving (audiobooks) and exercising (iPad on the treadmill). There is no easy answer to making it all work. You must find what works for you and your schedule.  Which social medias do you use and how’s your time management? Do you have a time suck bullet you need to dodge?


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