Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Works for me Wednesday - limiting blogging time

Visit Shannon's blog for more Works for me Wednesday posts

7 ways to limit your blogging time

I entered the world of blogging in February 2006. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that although blogging is wonderful for many reasons, it sure does take up a lot of time.

Here are some ways I keep my blogging time from taking over my life!

1. Use a RSS reader
Set up a Google Reader or Bloglines account to catch up on your blog reading. It takes some time initially as does anything that saves you time in the long run. However, once set up, it will save you hours every week – hours you can better spend with your family, working on your business, on self-care. Take it from me ;)

2. Set up folders
Within your RSS reader account, set up folders so that if you’re pressed for time, you can go to the ones you absolutely have to read and still feel like you haven’t missed much if you don’t get around to the others.

I have folders called Blog Love, Business – important but not urgent, Still Deciding and New Friends. So then I always read the posts in the Blog Love folder and I read the others when I have more time.

3. Use blogging as a reward
Don’t get on the computer and start blogging away. We all know it’s addictive so reward yourself by catching up on some blogs. I typically will reply to about 10 emails before I start blogging. Or send out a mail to my subscribers and then get onto Google Reader.

4. Post to your own blog before reading other blogs
This is another version of rewarding yourself. We all know that reading is easier and a lot more fun (sometimes) than creating your own post. So do your own post first before you go off visiting all round the blogosphere. At least you’ll have the comfort of knowing that even if you do then waste time, the important things are done.

5. Plan your posts
Albert Einstein said that if he had 60 minutes to save the world, he’d spend 55 minutes planning and 5 minutes doing. That’s all I’m saying. If you know what you want to say and have a rough outline of pictures to use, posting is much quicker than if you’re thinking as you’re typing. Also compress your pictures beforehand to save you time.

6. Use a timer
If I have lots of blogs to visit, for example from a meme like Menu Plan Monday, I allow myself a specific amount of time. Let’s say 20 minutes. So I set my timer and start visiting and commenting. When the timer goes off, I need to move on.

I usually set myself a goal to visit 10 new blogs (other than those in my Google reader because I’ll have seen those posts anyway). Of course, if I’m done with everything I wanted to do and I still have a bit of time, I go visit more. I’m not inflexible, you know!

This has really helped me because in the beginning I used to spend hours trawling through each and every blog. Now I still do a lot of that because I’m so curious and can’t bear to miss out on anything. The difference is that now I schedule the time and when I find a good new blog, it doesn’t throw me off track very much. And of course, I add to my Still Deciding folder on Google reader.

7. Stay focussed
I use my Eat the frog form to keep me focused when I’m on the computer. You can download a copy here. Before I even go online, I write a list of everything I need to do.

A typical list will say Reply to emails, Send out mailing, Post recipe on Take Charge blog, Post tackle on Org tips blog, Pay R2000 into credit card & Update budget. I number them in terms of priority. Most days it will look like this: 6) Reply to emails, 3) Send out mailing, 4/5) Post recipe on Take Charge blog, 4/5) Post tackle on Org tips blog, 1) Pay R2000 into credit card & 2) Update budget.

Why? Well, I’m ALWAYS on top of my finances. This is a good part of the OCD-ness. Then a mailing to my subscribers is always top priority. Posting to my blogs is next and the emails I do while waiting for Blogger to upload photos.

So these are MY 7 ways that I use to limit the time on blogging. What works for you?

Friends in the computer, I have a question for you.
What is the correct way to handle comments? Do you reply to them in your own comments, reply to them on their own blogs, or what?

If someone comments and has ticked the box, then I email back. Easy. If someone asked me a question I think others might want to know too, I reply in my comments. But mostly I try and visit their blogs and comment there. Except for you Typepad people (I can't comment so I email you if I can find your email on your blog fairly easily).

I’d love to know what you do! Please share in the comments.


Karen said...

I printed the Eat The Frog page - thanks for the link. Also, I respond to comments in my post where the comment was made. It's easier than tracking down the writer and responding elsewhere.

I've only been using google reader for abut two weeks, but it's the greatest thing I've found in a long time!! It saves an incredible amount of time for me.

Overwhelmed! said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

As for responding to comments, I really do try to email them response, if I can find their email. And, if I have time, I stop by their blog and comment on their latest post, since they took the time to leave me a comment. Either way, I try hard to give them some type of response.

Suzanne said...

I absolutely LOVE the quote from Einstein. Per usual, it's brilliant and I'm going to use it in my next newsletter. =)

I liked your suggestion regaring other people's blogs. Honestly, your blog is the only I subscribe to that I don't personally know! I think I need to get on the ball and get out in the world!

Thanks, Marcia!

meg said...

Marcia, I really like your tips! i will be implementing some of them for sure. Thanks!

JennaG said...

Thanks for posting this--I think this is a problem for a lot of people--keeping their priorities straight! I might just link to this! No, I am not in the 30 day challenge--I guess I could have done my garage or attic! I do have a few things that would qualify for the Tackle it Tuesday, though! Maybe in the summer!

sara - The Estrogen Files said...

Yes, I agree that the bloggy past time needs to be moderated for me! Thanks for the great ideas.

I try to visit the blogs of people who comment on mine and if possible, will reply via email or in their comment boxes.

org junkie said...

Great tips Marcia! I handle comments pretty much like you do.

Have a happy day :)

By the grace of God ... said...

I have been struggling with trying to post more and visit more blogs and finding out useful information, especially about getting more organized -- in the midst of "life" -- thank you for sharing this -- it is totally new to me and I plan on working this in to help my blog time! Great post.

Rae said...

Fantastic tips! So useful..I need to start doing that. I just started writing my blogs in advanced in a Word file and oh boy it has saved me so much time & headaches. I owe my thanks to you for that one too! I just started using two other forms of RSS readers other than Google too, still trying to figure them out..but I'm well on my way to organizing my blogging part of my day..finally!

As for your question...I always go directly to the person and comment back to them if they provide me with their blog site. I find it more personal that way, if it's a question I think more than one person could benefit from, I answer them in my own comment section AND on their private blog. I'm one of the people who doesn't read other people's comments, so I never come back to read old comments on posts I've already commented on..even if I think there might be a reply there for me.

Great tips, thanks for sharing! =) I'll be posting up that desk meme soon, if not tomorrow then this weekend.

Marcia Francois said...

Wow - thanks for linking to me!

Everyone else
I'm so glad that the tips helped.

And please share if you think of any other good ideas!

have a great day!

Coach J said...

Thanks for the pointers. It doesn't take long in the blog world to know that this will take up some time, and you will get hooked. I've tried to set up folders in bloglines, but haven't been successful. Any suggestions there?
I handle questions about the same way, and I need to go check out if I have the box checked.
How's the organizing going? Keep at it!! You can do it!!

Terri @ In His Hands said...

I often times respond in their comments or email them. I try to make a point of visiting their blog regardless.

I love the Eat the Frog list--thanks!

Military Mommy said...

This was a great article. Thanks for letting me know about it in yoru comment today. I especially liked the folders idea. You are going to laugh, but I didn't even know that I could organize my bloglines into different folders. I am going immediately after visiting to do that! That will definitely make things much easier. :)

I also love the timer idea. So simple, yet so effective!

Oh, and the reward idea. That's a really good one!

Shoot, I just liked them all! :) And as for comments, I usually try to leave a comment on their blog or email them (if they have shared their email). I don't do tit-for-tat every single time, but I try to show that I am interested in their blog as well. I try not to leave comments within my own comments. I guess just because I hardly ever go back to a blog to reread the comments and see if anyone else has posted. I just simply can't remember to do that. :(

Hope you have a fun weekend!

Love, Michelle

Samantha geller said...

hey these are some fantastics tips about managing time while blogging...often i spends hours before computer without doing anything fruitful

cheers to life said...

hi, I always like to read & implement organising techniques, your posts are quite informative from that point of view . being comparatively new to the blog world i also was not very sure 'bout that. thanks I got the solution through your blog quite easily!one issue : I want to change my blog's template but don't know how to do it . copying and pasting the HTML code from free template sites is not working.please solve my problem. thanks.

Joyful said...

I comment (to others) on my own blog post when others leave a comment or question. I then also visit the commenters blog if they have one and leave a comment on their most recent post.