Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another Take on Time Management

In my continuing quest to aid all those who are trying to cram 36 hours of life into a 24-hour day, I encourage you to read a new post by Amber Nasland on her social media blog called Altitude. Her focus: "Social Media Time Management: Nine Guiding Principles."

When it comes to managing your time, she notes at the outset, "It’s a balancing act. And ultimately, you’re in the driver’s seat."

Her first gear is managing disruptions: "Pick three things that you have to get done today, and focus relentlessly on those. (Hint: they should always be tied into your bigger picture goals, or you’re wasting time)."

Control information overoad, she continues, and make use of those tools that can save you a lot of time, such as WordPress for blogging or Google Reader to streamline your reading.

If you're in a situation at work or some other circumstance in which you find yourself answering the same e-mail question over and over, Nasland suggests creating a "template" that you can use to cut and paste common responses. Or set up a link to answers for a set of frequently asked questions. I like that one.

And when you don't have the answer, she says "communicate expectations." If you can't get to something for a day or two, say so, or refer people to somebody else who may be able to help.

But my two favorites are the last on her list: 8. Establish routines; and 9. Unplug:
If you set aside specific hours in your day, turn off other distractions. (Yes, it’s okay to close your e-mail program). Put your phone on Do Not Disturb or let it go to voicemail. Even 30 minutes of focused time on a single task, on a regular basis can ramp up your productivity.
Get offline. Go outside. Take a bath. Play with your kid. Go to the movies. Or go to an in-person event or Tweetup. There is nothing that will derail your social media efforts more than never walking away from them.
We all need to break from time to time ...


(Photo credit: "Time Flies..." by kamera.obskura, courtesy of Commons)

1 comment:

Kent said...

At first I didn't read the article because I spent more than three decades learning and occasionally practicing time management techniques. Today I am thinking more about social media and it occurred to me that it introduces new elements into most people's day.

For most of my career what I had to deal with were meetings,memos, walk ups, and phone. Later e-mail, and voice mail were added (and hard copy memos subtracted). The vast majority of those were "push", they came to me and I had to decide how to deal with them.

Now with blogs, social networks, aimless web surfing,and on-line
news, I find that I have to deal with things that "pull". I go looking for distractions rather than having them thrust upon me.
There were a few "pulls" around in the old days: the site library, journals, and walking out to the hallway to socialize. The big difference is that those were very visible, so I had an incentive to keep it in control.

Now I am a retired guy. Theoretically I can spend my time however I choose. But if I let the "pulls" sweep me away, I wind up using large parts of my day to do things that are not at all fulfilling. I still need time management. In some ways I need it more than ever before.

Thanks for the intriguing article.