If you’re doing any social media marketing at all, you know the drill. It’s all about showing up. Being your authentic self. Showing that you’re a trustworthy human being, making a connection, reaching out one-to-one.
The cornerstone idea of this blog is that if you can create more remarkable relationships with your customers, you’ll have a more remarkable business.
It’s fun and it works and it’s a great model. But it does have a significant downside.
How am I ever going to get anything done?
The problem with putting so much you into your business is that there’s a finite amount of you.
A couple of years ago, I asked Chris Brogan at a conference how he manages it.
He didn’t need me to elaborate, he knew exactly what I meant. Following tens of thousands on Twitter, making himself amazingly available for questions and conversations around the web, writing great blog posts then following through in the comment conversation, writing a terrific book. Plus he has, you know, a job. And two young kids.
“I sleep about four hours a night,” he said with a smile. A tired smile.
Since then, I think he’s developed some more techniques for being able to make remarkable connections without killing himself. (I really hope so, anyway.) And he’s a particularly energetic, passionate guy, which helps a lot.
I can’t make Chris’s way work. I need plenty of sleep (and time to work out, and creative noodling time) to function. So here are my thoughts on how to manage the demands of the social web with the need to get things done.
You can’t be everywhere
I’m on Twitter and Copyblogger. A few times a month I post here, because I love the culture and community that’s distinctly “Remarkable Communication.”
Once in a blue moon I get onto Facebook to see friends, but I don’t use it professionally. I never venture into public forums any more, too many trolls. My Squidoo lenses are neglected, but luckily, they tend to take pretty good care of themselves. I have a LinkedIn account that I never use.
MySpace? Get real.
Pick one or two platforms (one of which you should own, like a blog or a great email newsletter). Do your best work for them.
If you create remarkable work in just one or two places, others will share your message far and wide. Mediocre work spread out over a dozen sites is mostly wasted effort.
My most important tool
The most important tool on my desk isn’t my laptop, my complicated GTD-based next action list, my phone (on which I spend more time than I like), or even my fancy fountain pen collection.
It’s my timer.
I work in 50-minute chunks, followed by 10 minutes of goof time.
The goof time is really important when you’re doing creative, difficult work. Your brain needs time to play and rest and have a good time, or it won’t work for you when you need it. Sometimes I knit, sometimes I hang out with the cat, sometimes I just walk in circles. Under no circumstances do I do anything productive.
My social media connection time is also on a timer. Twitter is confined to specific times of day, and no more than 10 minutes at a run. I usually answer email in 20-minute chunks.
I don’t have enough follow-up time in my day. I do the best I can with the time I have, and sometimes I drop the ball.
It’s 2009. Our lives are insanely complex, and our social obligations get overwhelming. We drop the ball. If you’re not doing heart surgery or managing a nuclear power plant, you’re allowed to drop the ball.
Bad as I feel when I don’t get back to someone, I’ve also realized that I can spend my energy feeling like a terrible person, or I can spend my energy helping as many people as I can. The latter doesn’t just feel better, it also makes a lot more sense.
The Sacred Two
I’ve made a commitment to carve out two hours a day, five days a week, for my most important work. (They’re actually two 50-minute chunks, per the above.)
Right now, that includes content creation for the membership site I’m building (I think that’s my first official public notice!), content for my email classes, writing for Remarkable Communication, and moving forward two on two other nifty projects I’m launching this fall.
There are other commitments I’ve made that are very important to me. Deadlines to hit, projects promised, email to answer. All of that is important. But it’s not sacred. Those two hours spent on my core projects are sacred.
Most of the time, they’re the first two work hours of my day. But if I need to take an important call or hit an early deadline, they might get shifted. What matters most is that they get done. 10 hours a week.
How do you do it?
I think this problem is nearly universal, at least for the community around this blog.
So how are you handling it? What are your favorite techniques to make social connections (on or off the web) without the social element eating your entire life?
I’d love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments?
Flickr Creative Commons image by realSMILEY
Adam Kayce says
Thank you – at last, someone’s being honest about their social-media-time-management strategy!
I see so many people who seemingly pretend that they live on Twitter, set their clocks by their blog postings, and have time left over to generate oodles of cash, maintain a 10% bodyfat percentage, and homeschool three kids, all blissfully. (Pttththh!)
Thanks, Simone. (From one human to another.)
Christine Martell says
The first thing I’m doing is monitoring the time I am actually spending on things with Rescue Time software. This is helping me get out of denial, and really look squarely at the places where I am spending precious time. I’m slowly shifting and making space.
I love the idea of the ten precious hours of focused work time. I’m going to try it now that I am getting a bit of a handle on time and am starting to see I can shift it.
I do set aside focused time to keep up with social contacts. Much like you do, I set aside chunks of time. I’m not as disciplined at limiting my time with online contacts, but I doubt I’m as disciplined as you in any area! Its nice to see a model though.
I enjoyed that blog very much… and it makes perfect sense. The only way I figure people have time to twitter all day is if they have internet on their phone; then one could participate while they’re doing other things. ie; working out, walking the dog, on the job, etc.
I however have been hired by Eden, to manage their social media accounts as well as other tasks. So, I have the unfair advantage of combining social media with my work day.
My personal twitter account however… practically non-existent.
Natalia Real says
This has been a concern of mine lately. I have decided I want to spend less of my time online and more on work and activities unrelated to the computer, such as cleansing myself with a walk in nature. This is essential for my health and productivity, so it’s important.
I have reduced my time on Twitter to about 10 minutes. This is new. I still feel a little uncomfortable doing it, like I’m missing out on a lot of useful information I used to drink in throughout the day.
I quit chatting a long time ago – it sucks up time like an invisible vaccum! It’s made a huge difference.
I make my emails as succint as possible.
I take short breaks as well to avoid burning out. It’s an efficient strategy.
I spend very little time on Facebook and LinkedIn.
It’s important to make up our own rules instead of feeling guilty about not spending hours daily polishing our personal brand via social networking. The majority is not always right, and we know what is best for us.
Thanks for this post!
I’m a part-time consultant/part-time writer. Right now, the focus is writing, so I spend the first two hours doing that. I also write some blog posts ahead of time. I have two blogs–the other at http://geekymom.blogspot.com. If ideas come to me during the day, I note them and blog them and then schedule the post to come out later if I’ve already posted for the day.
The thing I’m finding hard to manage is meeting up with real live people. I work from home and my work is in social networking, so sometimes I have a hard time scheduling time for face-to-face meetings. Perhaps I need a meetup! 🙂
thanks for the tips. Since the kids went back to school, I am feeling as though I have less time for my social networking, since I feel as though my day is divided by my kid’s schedule, not my own. I appreciate your tips on taking back the schedule, dividing into my own blocks of time and making that work. And bless you for saying I can limit myself to 2 platforms, that might be my saving grace!
I’m not handling it. I think I’m victim to the self-imposed tyranny of Twitter and email. I feel compelled to keep up with what’s going on, and it’s eating away at my productivity and by sanity. I feel l ike as though things are getting away from me. Once again Sonia, your post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks!
I just stumbled upon the “two sacred hours” technique myself. Took an honest look at my daily productivity and realized that was both the maximum and minimum I could commit to with no wiggle room. And then I follow it with an hour of exercise. As soon as I let those boundaries get fuzzy, my day goes to hell. But when I follow the plan, I’m more productive in those 2 hours than in most other days.
Thanks, Sonia. This is a great reminder to prioritize. Some things just have to take precedence over others. I like your idea of using a timer, and giving yourself breaks every hour. That’s genius!
Sometimes I feel swamped: email is overflowing, RSS account hasn’t been touched in days, 253 missed twitter messages…….it goes on and on.
What I’ve been doing is opening email first thing in the morning, read and respond to what’s really important and leave the rest till the evening when I open it again. Then I do my priority work for the day while sitting on my deck and watching the birds in my garden. It’s very soothing.
When that is finished I work on some courses I’m taking right now. That about takes up my whole day. Sometimes I don’t get to bed as early as I should because those full boxes weigh on me, but I’m trying to get better about that.
Thanks again for the reminder to keep myself sane!
Scott Webb says
well written. I love the timer. Brilliant.
I know what you mean about picking a few of your platforms and stick with it. Set up your blog/twitter feeds into some of those other platforms and let it run autopilot. If anyone needs to seriously get a hold of you on facebook, they’ll know to find you on your blog or twitter. atleast I hope so.
I like taking naps though! Short naps are good for the mind too in the mid day. With kickass apps on iphones these days, I can set up a specific time, and zone out for a little into a quick nap and be awakened and refreshed.
Thank you, Sonia.
Web 2.0 immersion taught me to focus – tenaciously.
Your post taught me to try – a timer.
Thanks @chrisgiullebeau for the tweet, just on top of the stream and thank myself for the goof time. Over.
Oh, how I wish I was one of those people who can sleep 5 hours a night and be happy. SO not me. Nice to know I’m not alone, and hear your tips.
I should try the timer & 2 hours sacred time too. My client work tends to come in waves so I lose traction on the personal projects during the super-busy times. Then, feeling worn out, I probably cruise/goof off more than I must at the other end of the wave before I get momentum again on those personal project. Steady sacred time every day might help that. Hmm…
Sonia Simone says
@Adam, laughing. We would hate those people if we believed 1/10 of what they say.
@Laura, yes, I am terrible about seeing anyone face to face unless they actually live here in my house. 🙂 (I am also ROTTEN about making time to connect with my extended family, and for that I do feel quite guilty.)
@Carole, yep, not too good about getting to bed early myself. Tonight, for example.
@Tzaddi, isn’t it interesting that we always make the time for client work, but not for our own work? I honor everyone’s deadlines but my own, too often. But I keep working on it.
This is the first time I have seen anyone be so honest about what it can be like keeping up with everything in social media. I’m a business owner working from a home office and mom to 2 kids. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and I am starting to write, at my own blog and more. I go back and forth between roles and priorities all day long. It’s hard to function at a high level in so many directions. If I’m reading blogs and other online resources, I’m not writing. If I’m writing, I’m not keeping up with anyone or anything. And when I’m online too much in a day I am not connecting in real life.
Thanks for an honest post that will get a lot of people thinking. I enjoyed the comments and suggestions and will be looking at the 2 hour idea (50 mins x2!) and other suggestions myself.
Ann Moller says
This post was SO helpful and timely for me. Every single thing you suggested is right on. One or two of these are things I’ve heard before but some are new and regardless, the combination is stellar. I also really relate to people’s comments. Looking forward to trying your suggestions, Sonia. Thank you! This also really helps me see the need for me to clarify my priorities for my 2 sacred hours.
Ali Hale says
I am, and always have been, cranky without my eight hours sleep. I also tend to take on more things and have more goals than I can actually handle.
My solution at the moment is to block out a couple of afternoons a week, take my netbook into my college library, and write my novel. (Which, along with my blog, is one of my two “sacred” goals.)
I did the same thing when writing content for my last ebook/ecourse.
However many other things I feel are urgent or “should” be done, simply getting away from my desk and into the library gives me space to work on the important stuff. And, surprise suprise, the urgent stuff which *needs* doing still gets done.
Mark Silver says
Great post! Glad I scanned it in 10 seconds- gotta run- another 20 cool things to reply to on twitter… what was that blog post i was working on?
Oh, cool- just searched and found an egg timer widget for Mac. Hmmm…
Okay, enough of that- back to twitter- what, how many friend requests do I have to respond to on FB?
Charlotte Malycon says
Love the way you think Simone. Works for me. Now… to find 2 x 60 minute chunks (each divided 50:10).
Since listening to Dave Navarro’s 30 Hour Days, I am even more aware of how much time I fritter.. and yet, like you, I just need my ‘faff’ time to function. Bring on the faff I say. Its the 10 minutes of faff that makes us truly productive for the remaining 50. Great solution.
As for my return tip: I must say my recent iPhone adoption is definately amping my time-value… Driving to school pick-ups or waiting while the kids have their dentistry done, is the best time for me to read recorded version of ‘Marketing for Nice People’. I’m slowly but surely getting up to speed.
Grandma Mary says
Great post. It was great to be reminded the 50:10 min rule. I think so many of us feel that we should be productive for a solid 3 hour block but that’s not realistic. So we end up beating ourselves up when we do take breaks. Thanks!
Barry Dalton says
Great post, Sonia. A very fresh and honest approach to social and other time management issues. I must admit, my biggest obstacle is following up with people in a timely manner. I find myself filtering and prioritizing my follow ups based on the communication channel. Right or wrong, I’m much more likely to respond faster to a request through Twitter, SMS or other communication where I can control the duration. To keep control of my time and be able to interact with/help as many people as I can, I let me telephone follow ups lag sometimes. Just because, as well all know, its harder to get off the phone. Ok there! I said it. Hey, I feel better!
On the other aspects, I too have limited my network development to where I can contribute the most and also learn the most from my network.
As for how I work, I do admit I’m a little more frantic and multi-tasking. I just find myself more productive if I work in shorter bursts. This keeps my ideas fresh and energy high. Yup, sorter than 50 minutes. Thanks, ADHD!
Barry Dalton says
….oh and sadly, my parents tend to get the short end of my communication because they are completely unconnected. It is dreadful to admit. But, I cringe now ever time I get a voice mail from them, knowing that the return call will be no shorter than 60 minutes. I try to respond to them via email (ok they do have that). But they have yet to catch on and still pick up the horn to make the call back to me. PLEASE MOM AND DAD!!!! I love you. I’m not ignoring you. I just need you learn to communicate in shorter bursts. (again, Thanks a lot ADHD!) Text me, email! Anything besides the phone!
Great post that will help a bit to help my current time management & productivity problems (I’m a web-entrepreneur since a few months here in Switzerland).
Can you tell us more about your complex GTD list ? I would appreciate it a lot, if it’s not secret stuff, since my working structure seems to be a bit like yours.
All the best,
Dushan, from Switzerland
Great post, but I did gasp at the thought of knitting not being productive! K1 p2.
Karl Staib - Work Happy Now says
There is only so much we can do and we have to choose wisely. I’ve tried to do all my social media stuff and I wore myself out. I use Twitter, my blog, guest posting, commenting on other blogs and email and that’s it.
I’m so much more focused and more valuable than when I spread my attention across too many platforms.
Alison Law says
Thank you for this post. I am going to purchase an old-fashioned, eardrum-grating egg timer. I tried setting the digital oven timer and I downloaded a clock program to my computer desktop; neither prevailed upon me to stop and take the necessary 10.
I am curious: how do you prioritize and select tasks for those “sacred 2?” Do you build in thinking or innovation time each day and decide which items get the coveted time slot?
Brooke Thomas says
This is soooo helpful as the number of meaningful projects I’m working on continues to mushroom (and it’s lovely to learn with you in Teaching Sells towards that aim as well…) I’m absolutely implementing the egg timer goodness. Thank you.
The one thing I do get right is taking mini computer breaks for movement. Sometimes I’ll do just a couple of sun salutations- but I also keep a hula hoop and a jump rope by the computer for some more fun, playful movement when I need to shake off the static-ness of the computer day.
Sandeep Bali says
There are many great and nice people who share their social media management strategies honestly (while many don’t), I have found yours to be really helpful, practical and universal. Not sure about others, but it is something quite realistic and adaptable to me. I hated killing my time after social media recently.. your article was of real help.
Thanks for the article..
Karen Swim says
Sonia, I have often wondered if I was the only one who needed sleep and workout time. Thank you so much for this post! My management began with me accepting I can’t do it all. I switched to a 4 day workweek this year. I work Mon- Thurs and I focus. I chunk everything. I do blocks of meetings rather than scattering them throughout the week, and focus on similar tasks in chunks of time. My sacred time is Friday. I work on my stuff rather than client work and also indulge in whatever is needed to self-nurture and refuel. I do Social Media in small chunks, which means I’m not as popular as I could be but when I’m there I’m all in.
Dave Mac says
Great post. Bookmarked for future reference.
This is an issue that most organisations are currently dealing with as they realise that social networking has commercial value and is something they should be dealing with.
I really enjoyed reading your blog and recognised a few things that work well for me too, like the timer for example. I spend 30 mins in the morning on Twitter & Facebook etc before I do anything else in my business, and then another 30 mins last thing in the evening, to catch up. I think what really helps me too is making time for face to face networking and meeting up with people….and to have at least one or two days away from social media, either at the weekend or during the week.
I’m definetely going to do exactly what you suggested.
I’m a uni student and really need to improve my time management to get the assignments done on time. I spent too much time in social networking web meaninglessly, just checking it like every second and hoping there is something new, which is often nothing is happening, then continue with checking people’s profile, and suddenly I realised I wasted my time…
I will try your method, wish me luck since there are assignments due soon…. Thank you for your writing =)
Thank you for a reminder and some great new ideas how to manage online time.
I have tried the timer and morning bursts in the past quite successfully, but then slip back into old habits. At least I have cut back on spending too much time getting sucked into discussions on a forum or two, which is a black hole for time. I probably drop the ball with email more than I should, but email, too, can end up like ping pong, where people are more likely to respond back to a response and so on.
Now I mainly respond to a few blog posts on my RSS round, use twitter sparingly, and also look into my favorite social media site Flickr once a day, as much of what I do is visual. I really like the idea of actually setting a time limit on them as well.
I will definitely try writing more in the morning when my mental energy is at its peak. Oh, if only they sold the cube timer in this country, I would be sooo productive.
Tasha harris says
Hello Sonia/all, thanks for all the wonderful new ideas.
I wish I could be more like other that only require a few hours of sleep. I need a full eight hours and therefore MUST stay on an hourly schedule.
I too believe in the work/reward system Sonia. I do it on a bit larger scale though. When I complete my daily things then I get a medium treat everyday. Then once I complete the more challenging things, I get my big reward on Saturday or Sunday night. Then once a month a bigger treat.
I am still very old fashioned in that my main list of ‘to-do’s’ is still on colored paper/pens and I still use my timer, since I started my first business in ’98.
Thanks to having a DRILL SERGENT mom who was very strict on teaching me how to have/use good business skills.
I use to feel I had to ‘keep up’ on the 1000+ emails I get daily, and twitter and FB and all that. Now I teach me and my clients a really quick way to do emails (with one tweet or one QUICK reply on FB, or something else as you go if you can do that)
I use Incredimale (kinda like outlook but for those who like to see wallpapers/tags in their emails.) so I can open up bout 50 all at once. I sort by date and hit reply… type my comment as quickly and accurately as possible…send. For deeper things that need more thought , (I never lie but I do tell ‘positive affirmation’-wink) I never want to do bad business by not replying-then you forget; so I just quickly type- “You know I need to pass this by my colleague Sonia Simone as her opinion is a must for me. So let me get back to you on Monday, I really need her thoughts before committing.” Then I always give a compliment and add my signature tag and hit send. That way I keep in good with you but I can move along in my duties for the day. I add myself on the blind copy. When I get that back it automatically goes in ‘REPLY’ folder and I must do that every Saturday (8-9am) – or no treat for Tash for getting my chores done. (This can not take over the 1 hr time limit.)
I find that the biggest waste of time is letting others rob you of your time by talking. Thus when your timer goes off just tell them nicely, “Oh that’s Tash, I really need to take this call, I’ll talk to you later ok?” AND WALK OFF, don’t stand there. This saves me a full 2 hrs of time on a daily basis. Try it this week and you will see. “No” really is a good word.
While I am at my ‘job’ I try to at least take care of ten emails, on my break. Then I get a treat for doing that thing. So on my way home from the bus stop I get my favorite snack, dried fruit.
I really think most of us have forgotten we are only big kids. work…reward…work…then it isn’t so bad – right?
Mom always said we all have the ability to do ANYTHING we need to do or want to do in this 24 hr period. “You never change the budget and you never change the schedule”. (within reason of course) You must find a way to stay on track. That way for me, has always been color(files and business cards) and colored pens/pencils, and a timer. I do not answer the phone. I get all my messages at the end of the night and I return all calls the next day between 3-4pm, if I can’t do it at work.
I rarely ever get one piece of mail. All my mail is done online now and that is truly one less thing to DO when I get home.
I do my internet stuff in the morning or ass soon as I get home from work (I only work part time) Then I must be away form the computer for a few hours at least while I do my mediation class or laser coaching, youtbue vids, auto-responders, and so on. (I still do writings by hand first.) Treat for that = 5 youtube vids that are funny/uplifting
My mom made her first million in business when I was 17, 18, 19 and she only had a 9th grade education. (later gained AA) So I know if she can raise NINE kids alone and run four businesses, surely I can do anything I truly desire.
After running 4 small businesses, since 98, I found her to be my best coach. Then God sent me to Sonia to learn how to add blog/marketing to my schedule.
Thank you so very much wise Lady Sonia. You have truly enriched my life, business skills.
I love you all
Brandie Kajino says
GREAT article, seriously. I use a time-saving software called ActiveWords to cut down the monotonous duplicate tasks. However, even more simple:
I use templates for the recurring tasks so they get accomplished. It’s a way to plan out my days, weeks and even the year.
I also have begun closing my email application (I turned off notifications a loooooong time ago). That way I can concentrate and get the important things done.
That’s what I do….
Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome says
I don’t try to do it all. I choose a variety of things that I’m working on at the moment and ignore the rest. Right now it’s content creation – my fiction, my blog and guest posts and info products. The rest (like reading and commenting on other blogs) falls by the wayside or gets done once a week (hence why I’m so late commenting on this awesome article). 😉
Yay – I’m so glad there are wonderful beings like you Sonia who can express what I’m feeling in such a perfect way.
Thanks for sharing.
and ditto what Adam Kayce said!
Dean @ Pro Copy Tips says
I’ll tell you what I DON’T do. I don’t try to follow some complex organizing scheme for my time. I don’t have 43 folders. And I don’t set timers.
What I DO do is simple. I make a list of stuff I need to get done. I do one thing at a time and cross them off my list. The trick isn’t what you do as much as it is what you don’t do. You don’t have to answer every email or reply to every tweet or blog comment. Do what you have to do and call it a day.
Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend says
It’s not sustainable.
When our society puts the floor for entrepreneur success at 80 hour weeks, the game is almost over. I’m doing it myself, but I know I only have another couple of years at it.
On the other hand, I’m better at the content creation side than at the social side. I have to take the time away from content creation to be social. I suspect there are others like me.
Lisa Wood says
Thanks, Sonia, for this great post. It came just when I needed it! I’ve cut way back on my social networking, because it’s distracting. Like Karen said, when I’m there, I’m all there – even though I’m not there as much as many others.
I’ve recently changed my morning routine. Instead of getting up, showering, feeding the pets, etc., I get up and go straight to my desk. I crank out a few hours of good quality work, then I go back and do the other stuff – and I’m trying to get in the routine of adding gym time to that as well. It’s a great feeling to cross things off your list first thing in the morning, making the rest of the day a little less hectic.
.-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Why is Accountability Important? =-.
Do you schools have alot more responsbility to teach children how to commicate digitally than other forms of communication?
Steve G Johnson says
Just found this article. Great post and like the idea of a counter. I have heard Chris Brogan talk about this. I am trying to set a “scheduled” day and a timer would really help.
I really like how you tell people truthfully where you are and where you are not. This is one reason why I do not have a Facebook account (among other reasons).
I have restarted my blog and have a twitter account. Soon I will be looking for ways to guest post on other blogs. I too have a LinkedIn account that has not been updated in about a year.
I get off course frequently, but learning to manage my life better.
Nicole DeFalco says
This is a very helpful and practical piece on productivity. I’m with you on the need for sleep and exercise. I like the 50 minute chunk idea with the 10 minutes of goof time. When I think about, that kind of happens naturally for me. But, I tend to feel guilty about the ten minutes lying on the floor sharing a pool of sunshine with the cat. I think I’ll put the guilt to rest and make it an official practice.
There’s great advice out there for how to organize work and stay productive. I read each list and article with every intent of implementing the ideas “tomorrow.” The problem is that so many of the top 10 things to do to stay organized or get things done or stay in touch via social media are about 8 things too many. I like your ideas because they are pragmatic and easy to implement. In fact, I think I’ll start them today. So, 45 more minutes of work and it’s off to see what the kids are doing (the cats are under the bed, not nearly as inviting as sunshine).
–Nicole (a new fan)
Susan Aaron says
Love these ideas–I, too, work by timer for everything–including when to stand or take a walking break. I also need a boundary–a margin–between work and non-work, and often use a Classical Stretch dvd if I can’t make it to the gym. I fear the understanding of the importance of boundaries & margins is getting lost with more and more accessibility. During the World Series I noticed the “I want more of less” ads (Windows 7); everyone is saying that!
Rob Christeson says
Confining your efforts to a few areas of the web, versus pretending you’re 100% committed to everyting that anyone might possibly check sounds almost counterintuitive.
As I’ve been building my own blog presence, I’ve worried if maintaining FaceBook and Twitter presences to link to my blog were enough. I’m glad to hear that there can be success without spamming the whole web with little pieces of content, hoping to catch those 7 people still surfing MySpace.
One question: I didn’t see where you devoted time to reading/research. Is that on your scope, or is it a “as time is available” task?
.-= Rob Christeson´s last blog ..Book Review: Guerrilla Marketing =-.
Hi Sonia, What a helpful post. I’m trying to branch out into freelancing and have been trying to absorb as much information as possible while also creating a regular blog routine and working on my clips. I’ve painted myself into a corner where I feel there’s so much to do I couldn’t possibly get it all done in the time that I have available. Reading about how you’ve focused on the most important things and scheduled them provides helpful perspective. Thanks! -Jen
Mari Smith says
Hey Sonia!! I stumbled across this post and just love it. [Now, I’m hesitating to comment at nearly 11pm… cuz I’ve turned over a new leaf for 2010 and am training my night owl to be a morning lark! Lol. I’m a work in progress.]
I like your Sacred Two concept and your candor about what’s actually feasible in any given day… given your priorities. I laughed out loud at Adam Kayce’s comment. Indeedy, sometimes a part of me seems to think I’m beyond super-human… and I tap deeply into myself seeking an answer to what exactly motivates me to push so hard to try and know everything, be everywhere, respond to a gazillion emails, Facebook posts, @’s, DM’s… all the while running my biz!
An area that’s suffered for me for some time because I keep running out of time (um, read: not making a high enough priority!) is my blogging. I’m determined to whip my inner blogger into shape this year and cut back on saying yes too many times so I have more free time.
The more visibility, the more inflow and touchpoints. Hmmm, alas, I refuse to delegate my voice and so, like Chris Brogan, I do my best to respond to as many peeps as I can. And, for this, I pride myself. BUT I just must keep focusing on that new self-care regime…
…signing off before my morning lark has a hissy fit at my night owl. hehee
Hope to see you again in 2010!
.-= Mari Smith´s last blog ..Just added both Erik Qualman’s incredible videos to my Facebook fan page wall tab using the Extended Info app (HTML app) – love it cuz it includes a scroll bar and has lots of options. Not quite the same as the Static FBML app which is my fave! =-.
Suzie Cheel says
Awesome and so timely, I know I need the timer- I do have one, just forget to use it- starting next monday I will go for the 50 min chunks-I do like the goof off time
.-= Suzie Cheel´s last blog ..Inspirational SABs #15 =-.
Wojtek Szywalski says
Brain likes when we sleep.
No sleep can kill the brain as well as too much alcohol.
I try to find an extra hour during a day activity to sleep.
Than even 4 hours coma seams to be enogh.
All the best 😉
.-= Wojtek Szywalski´s last blog ..wojteksz: RT @mjankowski: The Seven Samurai Guide to Team Building http://ff.im/abc12 =-.
Somone | Thesis Theme HQ says
Love the timer. I just bought myself a beautiful glass 1 hour timer and I plan to have 10 to 15 minutes away from the computer when the sand runs out. I just need a reminder to help me remember to look at the timer.
.-= Somone | Thesis Theme HQ´s last blog ..14 Top Tutorials to Create a Na’vi Avatar Face in Photoshop =-.
Great article, Sonia, and a great idea to “carve out” those 10 hours a week for sacred work. Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the tips on managing your time — good stuff.
.-= Damian´s last blog ..The Smallest Moments Make Up A Life =-.
Dave Doolin says
Revisiting, with data!
Jan and Feb 2010, I did the 2 hour rule in the morning. Things marched right along.
Progress Was Made.
I got distracted in March. Lost the habit. Progress was not made, not in the same way to be sure. I’ll start it back up tomorrow.
.-= Dave Doolin´s last blog ..7 Excellent Tips for Handling Content Robbers (’cause you cain’t shoot ‘em) =-.
Villas in Nerja says
The dedication part is very important, setting yourself aside for so many hours each day to achieve connecting tasks cannot be understated.
Cynthia Smoot says
Ah, the unanswerable question, “How do I effectively manage my time?” I say unanswerable because everyone works differently so there will never be one magic bullet that fits all. But I love to read how others make the day work for them. I’m not structured enough to work the “chunks of time”plan. I work off a daily to-do list and list the items in order of importance, so at the end of the day I feel very satisfied to see items crossed through. Of course, I hardly ever get through the list and usually have items that roll over to the next day. But, that’s life! Great post!
Sam Amit says
Sonia, I love your 50 minute way of working. It sounds just as good as the GTD 2 minute rule. I wanted to ask you how long it took you from the decision to do this to get it right. I set myself time to do a task notice that i have not finished in the allotted time and then most often decide to go over time. I am basically asking you about the process you went through to get this right.
Thanks in advance
Marc Sokol says
Very cool! You and others have in the past gotten me to recognize that one important tactic of sustainable blogging is to find your own voice; now I can add to that the tactic of finding your own schedule. Your advice around choosing a few platforms reinforces advice I got a while back: start out posting 1x week so you can focus on quality of content and use your other time during the week to read different blogs, comment on others’ posts, and engage in Linked In discussion groups for ideas.
Many people tell me the key to expanding readership is to post 2-3 times a week minimum. Do you agree with that advice?
Kenny Rose says
I am late to this post. But the information is absolutely relevant. Trying to cram more unproductive work into a day is just not worth the effort. It does not help me or the customers I intend to target through being in the social media space. At the end of the day what matters is doing great work. Once that is nailed everything else will fall into place if combined with developing great relationships. That’s my perspective. Someone else may see it different.
Jenny Milchman says
I want so badly to be a Chris Brogan, but the wisdom of your words–mediocre work spread thin is worth a lot less than good work targeted–is hitting me. My problem is that I genuinely want to be friends and close to a great many people. I really hope I can find a way to do it–posts like yours help.
Discipline and creativity–two concepts that are frequently misunderstood. You make them so simple to understand here.
One of the things I like about your 50/10 plan is that it not only fosters discipline, but it helps your creative process by giving it a time and place to emerge. If you’re like me, those 50 minute writing sessions don’t always proceed at the same pace. Sometimes I need several sessions just to get to something worth publishing; other times one session seems to be enough. I bet plenty of people are like that.
The challenge is to remember that not every 50 minute session will produce the same results. And to be okay with that. And to trust the process anyway.
There’s some in here about compassion, self-compassion, that’s suggested but not named. We all need down time, even, or especially, when our to-do lists are miles long!