Time Management – Tuesday Think Tank

Time goes by – so quickly. Many of us are disorganised people who get distracted by shiny things and lose a couple of hours seemingly in the blink of an eye. Combine that with the ability to access the internet and you can lose half a day just surfing around, reading blogs and looking at photographs. Recently I decided it was time to take my time into my own hands. I asked myself how can I combat this? I did all the hard work, and now I’m going to tell you what has worked for me.

The Daily Planner –

timedayplan11

I spoke about the daily planner before, but this is the number one thing which has changed my life. I treat it like the old Microsoft slogan – Where do you want to go today? I write down all the things I would like to get done during my day onto the daily planner. I give them a priority – A, B or C. When I have finished that task, I put big ticks on either side of it. There is something so satisfying to me about finishing a task and ticking it off my list.

Oops, I Ran Out Of Time –

timedayplan

Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. I was putting these long to do lists in front of myself and not getting everything done by the end of the day. Sometimes a task takes a LOT longer than you expected. For example, installing wordpress plugins – I thought it would take 1 hour. It took 5 hours.

Permission Granted –

timedayplan11

One of the most discouraging things about setting yourself goals and tasks is not achieving them. It is one reason people simply give up and quit. There were a few days when I beat myself up about not finishing everything on the list. I almost wanted to quit because of it. In the end, I had to give myself permission to draw an arrow through any of the items on my to-do list and then add it to tomorrow’s to do list. As long as I have done my best each day I’m happy.

The Number One Rule –

desk

You will want to write this one down. “Do It Now”.

It sounds simple but it is not so simple to achieve this in reality. You have to treat it like a religion. You have to chant it like a mantra. You have to change your thinking from “I can do that later” to “I’ll do it now”.

Everything Has A Home –

place

As I wrote in my Snoskred Is Getting Organised article, I don’t put things back where they belong. One of the reasons I had trouble with this was – things did not have a specific home. My new office is a lot more organised. I have a set of drawers with labels on them so that I know where things live. I also have a lot more bookshelf space for my aromatherapy oils, for my incense, for my cosmetics and lip balms.

Keep It Bare –

timemanagement

On my desk, there are only essential work related things now. I used to have a lot of personal items on my desk. I’m finding new homes for them because I recognise I could often zone out while looking at them. That is because I am attracted to shiny, sparkly things. If I see something shiny and sparkly it can make all rational thought vanish from my mind. That’s a good thing – and ok in the right place. The right place for that is NOT my work desk. ;)

Handle It Once –

When you have something in your hand and you are considering putting it down, make sure you put it into the place it is going to live for good. I was one of those people who would put things down and not be able to find them again. Having a home for everything, and being disciplined about putting things back can fix this.

Devotion –

You might choose to devote 5-10 minutes at the end of the day making sure everything is where it lives, or you can choose to “do it now”. I prefer to do it now and devote that 5 minutes at the end of the day to a quick clean of my desk.

Recognise Daily Tasks –

checklist

There are some things I need to do every day. I like to tick them off a daily check list. At the old house there was a week where I was on a roll and got those things done every single day. Since moving here I have got out of the habit a little bit. It annoys me – especially getting out of the habit of replying to the comments daily. So I am putting this back on my to do list and I will be re-creating the list as I have more daily tasks now.

Plan –

Sephy wrote about Google Calendar for his Tuesday Think Tank. Right now I’m a little annoyed at Google but this calendar may be the best thing since sliced bread for me. Perhaps I might look for a version which has nothing to do with Google at all, just because I do not want to become too reliant on them. In the meantime, I am planning my blog with Google Calendar. Planning is a choice you can make, if you want to.

What do you mean, plan?

Here was the plan for last week.

Sun Sep 30 – Weekly Wrap Up
Mon Oct 1 – Emily’s Questions
Tue Oct 2 – Think Tank – HTML
Wed Oct 3 – Hump Day Hmmm
Thu Oct 4 – CD Review – Madonna Confessions
Fri Oct 5 – Out Of Your Niche – Thomas
Sat Oct 6 – Australians Let Us All Waste Water
Sun Oct 7 – Weekly Wrap UP

6 out of 7 ended up exactly as I planned them. I wrote all the articles, this means I have an extra article left over which I can re-schedule.

Why Plan?

  1. You can pre-write your blog posts when you’re having a writing “fit”.
  2. You know where you’re going, it’s the “Where do you want to go today” extended version.
  3. You won’t have a day where you don’t know what to write about if you have planned a topic in advance.

Why Pre-Write?

The simple fact is, there are times when you are in the mood for writing and the words come out fast and lovely. There are times when you are NOT in the mood for writing at all. The Search Engines are more “loyal” (they come back more often) to sites that post new content frequently. That is one reason I have the “Thought For Today” post. It’s not just because I take good photos and like looking for relevant quotes. There is method to my madness.

WordPress Will Change My Life –

The major reason I have switched to WordPress is the “publish in advance” feature. I can go in and write a months worth of “thought for today” posts in one sitting (this will take me an hour or so) and set them to automatically publish at the same time each day – and then forget it. That is an excellent use of my time. ;)

Try It Out With NaBloPoMo –

November is National Blog Posting Month. You can sign up for NaBloPoMo which is a month of posting every day – but rather than going into it without a plan, sit down and think how you are going to post every day for 30 days. Use a paper calendar or Google Calendar and plan your month of November well in advance. Try planning your blog and see if it works for you.

Spontaneous People –

Some people prefer not to plan. That is also a valid choice. When it comes to blogging it may be the wrong choice. Your readers are looking for –

  • reliability
  • good content
  • positivity
  • ideas
  • something unique

The best way you can give that to them is to have a plan. If your plan is positive where will you fit in a negative, spur of the moment post that loses you readers? You can’t. We have ALL done that. We have ALL posted something and regretted it later. You can choose to stop doing it. ;)

Further Reading –

Thoughts On Making Positive Changes – Can You Do It?
Snoskred is Getting Organised – Are You?
Email Zen: Clear Out Your Inbox

Previously in the Tuesday Think Tank
21st August: RSS
14 Reasons Readers Unsubscribe From Your Blog
Tuesday Think Tank: All About RSS

28th August: Blog Templates
Blog Design – Open Your Eyes.
Demystifying Blogger Template Editing

4th September: Nofollow
Spam, Spiders And Do Follow, Oh My!
Say No! to Nofollow

11th September: Site Meters
Do NOT Rely On Your Site Meter.
Track Your Visitors with Google Analytics

18th September: Technorati
Technorati – Sending Out An SOS
The Ups (and Downs) of Technorati

25th September: Google Reader
Google Reader Can Make Your Life Easier – Here’s How.
Improving your Google Reader Experience

2nd October: HTML
Basic HTML for Bloggers.
Some HTML Tips & Tricks

Over To You –

What are your thoughts on time management?
If you liked this article, don’t forget to give it a stumble. ;)

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20 thoughts on “Time Management – Tuesday Think Tank

  1. Snoskred, this was a great and valuable post. I devoured every single word and you gave some great advice that I plan to put to good use. I will definitely be linking to this in my next roundup as well. Thanks for the fantastic article. :)

  2. Pingback: Sephy’s Platzish
  3. Excellent post, as always! I’m so distractable by the internet, and then after about 15 minutes I sit here staring at the screen. I’ve found doing “fun” things early like reading & replying to email, and weeding out blog posts I want to comment on fun to do early in the day, then I have purpose for coming back to the computer.

    And I’m an overorganised planner. But you read my blog, you should know that ;)

  4. Rules number one and two were taught to me at a very, very early age and I’ve lived that way all my life. Now and again I let a bit of clutter build up, but by the weekend I can’t stand it and have what I call a major clean-up which really only takes me about 1/2 an hour or so.

  5. I disagree with the planning approach to blogging. I treat it as a nice hobby, not as a chore or an obligation. If I have great ideas, I publish them when they’re fresh in my mind, otherwise I might think differently later and avoid posting the content in its unmodified form.

    To me, it’s about being spontaneous, being myself and being unique. I agree that planning is essential in most things, but it needs to be looked at critically.

  6. Hari – I gotta disagree with your view. I also did some planning for my blog, and it does help a lot for the days when I might not have anything to write about. Over the last couple of weeks, I had all but a couple days planned out, and I wasn’t reaching the afternoon totally lost as to what I was going to write about for the day.

    I also don’t think that planning your posts loses any spontaneity you have; if nothing, because you’re less stressed to come up with something, which can make your writing better because you have more time to work on it.

    I also find that if I’m more attentive to how I’m using my time, I feel like I have more time to get other things done.

    Sephyroth

  7. You can disagree with my view as much as I can disagree with yours.

    I don’t keep posts in cold storage for long because I tend to have second thoughts about them I end up not publishing them later. I do agree that it’s necessary to document some thoughts though for later retrieval.

    If I cannot “entertain” my audience for lack of posts for a while, that’s not ruining my sleep. I think my regular audience understands my posting pattern by now and I’ve been doing this for 2 years now and still been around.

    My whole point is, I’m doing this as a hobby, not as a business so I think the whole blog “planning” bit is highly unwanted in my case.

  8. Tay – Thanks! ;) I value your opinion greatly, that is such a huge compliment. ;)

    Kin, I sometimes find it difficult to shut down my feed reader when my time is up. It’s difficult when there’s so many great posts to read. I’m becoming an overorganised planner, but I needed to. ;) If I want to start this business I have to be on top of stuff.

    River – I grew up in a house with people whose philosophy was “that’ll do”. When it comes to cleaning I find that really hard to take.. ;) I like to do things properly otherwise what is the point? I got into the habit of put it back now, do it now and I truly wish I’d done it for years. I have wasted a lot of time chasing things around the house!

    Alynda – Bloglines might not pick it up unless you have the feedburner feed. Just double check – and perhaps unsubscribe and re-subscribe. ;)

    Hari – I like art. I took up painting a little while back. It’s just a hobby, but that doesn’t keep me from planning – making sure I have the right paints, making sure I have the tools I need, making sure the brushes are clean.

    I do feel like I have a responsibility to my readers. I feel that very strongly. I don’t want to let people down with bad content, or posts which upset people, or by posting in anger. I’ve got a good thing going here and I’m not going to spoil it by flying off the cuff. ;) So planning helps me with that. And it helps me with writing, and focusing in on what I want to talk about.

    Hey Grassy Knoll, nice to see you here! ;) GK is a fellow scambaiter who I would miss greatly if I wasn’t still able to catch up with him on another site I belong to. :) Thanks for leaving a comment. ;)

    Sephy – You’re absolutely right – planning can take a lot of the pressure off a blogger. However you and I are both daily bloggers, and Hari is not, so maybe that is partly where the difference is. You’re rocking it big time lately, love your work. :)

    Hari – I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now, and I’m not sure what your posting pattern is. Will it come to me as a surprise? ;) I agree with the documenting thoughts – I have a huge writing file where I put little notes, ideas for future posts etc. ;)

    Belinda – No, will YOU marry ME! :) I’ve loved your blog for so long now..

    I wasn’t always amazing – this has been a job of hard work for me, to get here. ;)

    Thanks for the comments all!
    Snoskred

  9. Your new blog design is really awesome. But, I was searching for commenting option at the end of the post then found out just below the title of the post. Mmm..!

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