Thursday, June 17, 2010

ON BLOGGING ~ So THAT'S Where The Time Goes...

Image courtesy graymalkn via Flickr

So, if you happened by here 2 weeks ago, you would have found my Time Tracker Worksheet with a suggested assignment to find out what parts of your blogging you spend the most time on compared to what your priority list shows.  Did you give it a go?  It can be scary what it reveals - but the information is the most helpful tool you can have to maximize time with the things you want to do and make blogging fun instead of a stressful task.

Here were my priorities that I wrote down before I kept track of how much time I was spending on each of them:
  1. Content Creation - coming up with ideas, writing, editing, posting
  2. Networking - conversations via social media (Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.), e-mail, online chats, forums, conferences
  3. Comment Review - reading & responding to comments/questions on our blog
  4. Visiting - reading, reviewing, discovering and commenting on other blogs
  5. Research - learning how to do blog related things, try new things, get info. for content creation, track down images & links for posts, get answers to bloggers' questions
  6. Plotting - organize content schedule monthly, plan online events to participate in
  7. Layout - implement tech issues on blog, work on design elements
Now, based on the above list, it is most important for me to write my posts, then interact with bloggers outside of blogs, then reciprocate comments left, and then go blog hopping through my Reader.  Learning, organizing and design take the back burners.  Lets see how much time I actually spent doing these things.  I wrote down all the time I spent on any of the above tasks for one day.  It should be noted that I did not keep track of all the time I wasted online with my Fantasy Baseball Team, e-mails with friends and family and surfing the web for pure amusement.  I did not want to be thoroughly depressed.  This is just a blogging related experiment.

  1. Visiting (1 hour 15 minutes)
  2. Network (1 hour 10 minutes)
  3. Research (1 hour 5 minutes)
  4. Content Creation (30 minutes)
  5. Comment Review (22 minutes)
  6. Plotting (0 minutes)
  7. Layout (0 minutes)
That is 4 hours and 22 minutes of blog related activity folks.  That's more than usual since this was a Friday and I got wrapped up in interesting Research activity and my posts on Fridays are photos which take very little time.  BUT...this shows me that I am not following my priorities!  I have been a slave to my Reader.  That is supposed to be the thing I spend much less time on than Networking or Comment Review.  Because I spent so much time going through my Reader, I left myself very little time for other things that are of higher importance to me.  I could have used some of that time to write a few advance posts for a rainy day.  Or working on some behind the scenes projects I've been meaning to get to.

Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy visiting other bloggers.  But that hour and 15 minutes above wasn't enjoyable.  I was trying to knock that number of unread items down.  I was sifting through a lot of stuff I didn't care all that much about.  I wanted to just walk away, but I knew it needed to be done.  It was a chore.

Armed with these facts and feelings, I came up with a plan.  It isn't all that brilliant of a plan.  It wasn't all that difficult to set up.  I spent some time that weekend implementing my plan.  And then I tested it out the next week.  Here are the results from the following Friday:

  1. Visiting (33 minutes)
  2. Networking (21 minutes)
  3. Comment Review (12 minutes)
  4. Content Creation (8 minutes)
  5. Research (0 minutes)
  6. Plotting (0 minutes)
  7. Layout (0 minutes)
That's only an hour and 14 minutes for blogging time.  I had real world things to do.  And I'm still spending more time visiting than I am writing and networking and reciprocating.  But look at the difference!  My time on other blogs was 45 minutes less than the week before.  And it was time well spent.  I read, commented and had nothing hanging over my head.  The stress and frustration of spending time with my Reader is GONE people!!!  Had my real world life allowed me to use that extra 45 minutes on blogging, I would have spent much more time writing, reviewing and interacting.

Would you like to know my plan?  What it was that I implemented that is working so well for me?  It is all about getting control of your Reader.  Even without using the Time Tracker Worksheet, I am sure you know that you need to maximize your Reader in order to move on with other blogging activities.  Such as writing your own content for others to read.  I am revealing my little plan via a guest post Monday on Florinda's The 3 R's Blog.  Go there Monday to see if it might just work for you (don't worry - I'll remind you again Monday).  I'll be back with more blogging time saver tips in another 2 weeks here.  Together we just might beat those blogging blues and have lots of fun in this great blogosphere!


Michelle said...

I can't wait to see your suggestions! I need to get better at planning my time online too. I do try to keep the Reader for last - after e-mail, after writing the next post or so, after formatting or any changes I need to make, and so forth. That way I try to avoid the reader being unenjoyable and make it a treat for me finishing all of my other "chores". LOL!

An Eerie Tapestry said...

My time management's awful. I seem to spend all my time reading other people's blogs rather than writing my own these days (so much easier reading than writing), so I'll be interested to see how you got your reading time down.

Matty said...

You are much more organized with blogging than me. I don't use Reader and never have. I just go through the posts as they appear in my dashboard.

As for time spent in different tasks, most of it is spent reading and commenting. I barely post anything anymore myself. I just don't feel like I have anything to write about, and if I do, I don't think many people would be interested.

I like the community side of blogging. Getting to know and meet poeple. But as I said before, I sense that I'm losing interest in blogging. I'm not floating around checking out new blogs like I used to, and as such, I'm not meeting new people.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Yeah you have got it all going on there with your organization! I just "do". I plink through the posts until I'm done. THEN I write reviews, THEN after that I might read. Ha! I spend no time on blog development, obviously. I do very little research...most of what I post is from my gut. I'm so impressed with you!

Kathleen said...

I printed out the time tracker and then I didn't use it! You know what they say about the road to hell. Anyway I know for sure that I spend too much time in my Reader and not nearly enough writing posts or just coming up with content for my own blog. I've got to reset my priorities so look forward to your post over at Florinda's blog. I know you'll have some good suggestions for keeping my on a better track.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

As you know, I had pretty scary results from my time tracker also! One thing I discovered as I kept going through the week was that, in spite of it seeming like substituting computer time for real life time, part of SOME of the reason I go to the computer is for a break - like a book is too intense, or I'm trying to stop eating so much (hah), or I'm getting sleepy doing whatever ELSE it is I'm doing. But that's just part. Most of it is in fact deferring real life, almost obsessively, in order to do blogging "chores." I very much look forward to seeing what you suggest on your Monday post!

Anonymous said...

What a tease you are!

kayerj said...

I printed out your time tracker--I was so impressed, with it. I started tracking my time on Tuesday and about died when I spent 4 hours on the computer! I found my time was split pretty evenly between writing and visiting. (I don't plan ahead so I didn't have that category) I spent anywhere between 2 - 4 hours a day on my blogging days (Tuesday and Thursday) and about 1/2 hr to 1 hr./day the rest of the week (non-blogging days). Weekends are pretty busy so I usually schedule posts for Friday and Saturday, and then on Monday do the Movie Post. Wednesdays I usually just post a picture. Back in November I had to really cut back the time I spent on the computer because of the Palsy. I was pretty pleased to see that I really only dedicate two days a week to blogging.

ds said...

You know how I spent most of my time this week. And yes, I do spend most of my blogging time reading the fine work of other folks. Because reading is so much easier than writing.
I have never ever been good at time management. "Hopeless, Charlie Brown, completely hopeless."

Forgetfulone said...

Great post! I can't wait to read about your plan.

Margot said...

I am so impressed with you. I'd like to have just a little speck of your organizational talent. I will confess to starting the time tracker. I lasted two days before realizing I had forgotten to write down several things. I'm not giving up though as things need to improve.