I think most bloggers have the same problem when it comes to building and maintaining their online presence… Time! This is something I have struggled with myself and I think I’ve found MY solution so I thought I’d share it with you in hopes of it helping a little. Everyone works differently and we all have to find our own way but this might help a few of you.
I’d wake up to over a hundred emails. My first half an hour was going through them trying to find where my attention was needed and which emails were just a waste if time. I was so dependent on email that I had my smart phone setup to give a cool little ‘whistle‘ with each notification, including a new email. Of course, with every whistle, I had to grab my phone or check my emails so I wouldn’t miss anything. This is a horrible way to organize our time! That system allows everyone else to dictate how we spend our time online and our productivity suffers for it.
I have turned off all email notifications and now I decide when and where I spend my time online. I’m the kind of person that lives with a notepad, to-do list and everything has to be scheduled on my calendar. There’s no fighting it, that’s just me. So, allow me to introduce my new productivity tool:
A couple of weeks ago I started building a very simple page on my personal website (No longer used as a blog). I have my new start page setup in my browser as the ‘home‘ page. That’s where I start and end every day. I don’t go to my email account until it’s time, yes – scheduled.
This page is still young and a work in progress but I have to believe my productivity has at least tripled since I started using it and that will continue to increase as I improve on it. It takes a little discipline but I was surprised at how fast I was able to break away from my old habits.
As you can see from the image below, my start page is merely a bunch of links listed along with a time limit for each task. I simply click the link, set my timer, (I use the Chrome browser extension ‘Timer‘) and go to work. The timer goes off and I quickly move onto the next link (task).
Only 10 Minutes, Really?
The times seem very low and there are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, when you add up all of the times for the daily tasks, it comes out to five hours of work at the time of this post (That will change as I add and remove tasks). Second, when that clock is ticking, I’m working as fast as possible in order to get everything I want to do accomplished.
Personally, once I’ve spent an hour or so working online, I take a break. Some people include a break into their schedule but, so far, I haven’t had to. A break for me doesn’t mean a nap or watch a little TV; I might throw a load into the dish or clothes washer, take Sadie for a walk or make a quick phone call. The idea here is to step away from the computer and move around a little. Blogging allows for very little exercise so it’s up to us not to just sit all day long.
What Works For You?
So there you go, that’s what’s working for me. Like I said, we’re all different so I’d love to hear what works for you. Do you use a schedule at all? Is it crazy to use a timer? Some people don’t need one and others cannot function with that kind of restraint, for lack of a better word. What works for you?