Friday, April 13, 2012

Social media and time management tips

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
How I Handle Social Media: Time Management Tips
Writers are busy people. If you don't believe me, check out my list of the 8 jobs of modern writers. We have to do our own promotion, networking, accounting, sales, negotiating, filing, and, oh yeah, there's that writing bit too. And if we're not robots, we've probably got real lives too--and maybe even a day job to pay the bills. How do we fit in social media?!?

Is there a way to add an hour to the day? Like leap hour?

As a parent of five kids between the ages of 10 years and 10 months (and split between two states) who has a day job and a real life, I can totally relate to this situation. Now, I think everyone has a different angle or strategy for handling time management, but here's what I do.

The Power of Making Lists
First, I make daily task lists--with each day's tasks on a separate piece of paper. It's taken some time, but I've figured out how much I can comfortably complete each day--with a few unexpected daily surprises thrown in for good measure. I try very hard to avoid overachieving each day, because that practice usually backfires and causes me a lot of stress.

When I finish each task, I cross it off my list. Then, I allow myself a few minutes (up to 15) to check my social media accounts. I'll jump on Twitter and Facebook to see if anyone's contacted me first. Then, I also do a quick scan of what's happening in the world via my social media streams.

During these small breaks, I might link to a blog post from one of my blogs. Or I might share an article from another person. Or respond to a tweet. But when my time is up, it's up; and I have to jump back into my tasks list. (By the way, this blog post is on my tasks list--as is my Cub Scouts leaders meeting later tonight.)

It All Adds Up
Over time, these small breaks add up to a big investment in social media. Plus, they are more meaningful, because they are spread throughout the day (as opposed to an hour of social media power).

I consider social media just one part of my day, kind of like checking my e-mail (which is a-whole-nother story altogether). In fact, it's such a routine and minute part of my day that I don't even include it on my task list. I just know that I'm going to do it.

How about you? Do you feel you're investing too much time in social media? Not enough? Be sure to share in the comments.

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