My day begins at five in the morning. I used to make time for exercise but more and more my work life creeps into those precious hours of the morning as email, Twitter, Facebook, and all my blog responsibilities demand more and more of ny time.
My day begins with checking comments across all the blogs I manage and write for. I deal with an average of 120 comments that arrive between 10 or 11 at night and seven or eight in the morning, legitimate and spam. I respond to the ones that need a response, I delete the useless comments, and mark the rest of the junk as spam. Trackbacks are checked for copyright infringements, and copy and paste cease and desist comments are left when found.
By then, the world of Twitter and instant messaging seems to know I’m online and the live chatter begins. I do my best to respond as quickly as possible, giving everyone more than the two seconds they request, as I prepare for my day’s activities and tasks. As usual, everyone wants more time than I have to give.
Email is the next wall between myself and my work. I’m usually confronted 50 to 200 new emails. While I’ve trained Gmail to sort, label, and filter as much as possible, new ones must be greeted and responded to, all those “I just need two seconds of your time” messages take five to ten minutes each. Rarely do any take less than two minutes let alone two seconds.
Through the email, blog comments, and social chat come many requests for two seconds to review, comment, and provide feedback on blogs and websites from a variety of angles. They want me to check out their designs, WordPress Themes, WordPress Plugins, articles, new technology, new social bookmarking or networking site…all demanding two seconds of my time for free feedback.
I do what I can, but lately it’s not much. The demand for those precious two seconds of free help exceeds my capacity to give it. It doesn’t help that so many expect all of my time to be given away free, and resent it when I ask them if they are asking to hire me. Sometimes it’s not clear if they want free advice or paid advice. If you ask for two seconds of an attorney or consultant’s time, you have to pay for those two seconds. So are these people asking to pay for my time, or just give it away? I have to ask, and trust me, paid advice will get my attention faster.
Along with the requests for two seconds of my time for reviews and feedback come guest blogging gig requests, interviews, memes, speaking gigs, which may or may not bring money but do require a response and more than two seconds each.
When the email pile is done, it is lunch, and I’ve yet to hit the various forums I support and respond to as many forum posts as I can. When noon arrives, I’ve still not written a single bloggy word nor peed or refilled my tea cup from the morning.
I take a very purposeful lunch to allow me to regroup and leave the computer. Sometimes that time is filled with brainlessness, watching a movie from Netflix or download, reading a book, taking a walk, working out, cleaning, or running an errand. By the time I return, the hope is that I’m calm and collected and the rest of my day that started out with intention will be filled with purposeful, task accomplishments. In the past six months, those two hours of lunch I count on as the only free time away from the computer in a long 14-16 hour day keeps shrinking and I now spend most of that time eating in front of my computer while continue to process communications.
When I do get out, I return to 30 more emails and 28 Twitters and two open chat windows waiting for my attention.
I’ve an interview scheduled for two, a demo at four, and a social business gathering at six. In between, I write when I can, call people back on the phone, and keep the flow of conversation rocking on the web that lets the world think I’m participating and active, stuffing a few dried fruits into my mouth as I race between appointments.
Even as I write this, the guilt of 150 emails still waiting in my inbox, 16 comments that still need an answer, and 6 messages on my voice mail nags me – not to mention the thirty-plus posts I have to publish every week that are slowly getting more and more behind as I feel like I’m chasing my tail.
They call what I do social media and I’m reassessing its purpose and function in my life. That social is consuming every two seconds of my life, leaving me working more than benefiting from the reward of my work. Something is out of balance.
Is the social in your bloggy life consuming your life, too?
They Do It, Why Can’t I?
I think about people who set such tremendous examples of handling massively overloaded time schedules, like Condoleezza Rice, Oprah Winfrey, Barak Obama, doctors, lawyers, and others who seem to cruise through their day stable and sure, their lives and time handled. Sure, they have assistants, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
The day after the election, after Barak Obama won, he got up, got his kids off to school, and went and worked out for an hour. He has time and he’s the future ruler of the United States. Conoleezza is in the Middle East on a perpetual failing peace mission, and she works out for at least an hour a day almost without fail and manages to keep up with her inbox. Oprah has her television show, television network, magazine, books to read, and classes to teach and speeches to give. And she still works out every morning.
I’m just a little ole’ blogger who works as a blog consultant and public speaker and instructor. I’m an evangelist for blogging and social media communications. But the social is overwhelming me. I know it’s just a matter of choosing your priorities, but my priority in my business is about the social. Is the social overwhelming you, too?
I’ve had a lot of non-blog friends tell me that it’s just a matter of shutting the door on the interruptions. Get focused and leave the distractions at the door. That’s nice but those distractions get rather pissed off when they don’t hear from me within those precious two seconds. I live in a business world of two second demands on my time. How do you deal with those two second requests?
Blog Struggles Series
This is one of an ongoing series of articles on blog struggles, the challenges of blogging as I see them from 15 years of experience.
- Blog Struggles: The Search for Blog Content: We put so much energy into “finding” blog content that we often forget the best source for good blog content: from within us. I offer tips and techniques for pulling content from your head.
- Blog Struggles: Ideas and Drafts: We come up with such great ideas and then what? We jot them down, make lists, start post drafts, and they sit there staring at us, as we procrastinate over what to do with all these ideas and how to keep them in check. I offer tips on how to best keep track of your ideas and drafts.
- Blog Struggles: The Blog Focus: As part one in a sub-series of posts on Blog Struggles, I look at the issue of the blog focus, your blog’s ability to turn you from a blogger into an expert.
- Blog Struggles: Why Should Your Blog Have a Focus: Your blog doesn’t have to have a focus, but if it does, these are the reasons, and benefits, of why it should.
- Blog Struggles: Finding Your Blog Focus: Continues the Blog Focus theme and offers tips for finding your blog’s focus and direction.
- Blog Struggles: Changing Your Blog’s Focus: Once you find your blog focus, how do you change your blog? Or should you start a new blog? I cover the tips you need to know to redirect your blog.
- Blog Struggles: When Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation Interferes With Your Blogging looks at the issues around the impact of poor writing habits and skills and whether or not they impact the success and reading of your blog.
- In Blog Struggles: When Are Too Many Comments Too Many Comments?, I share a struggle I faced not long ago about an over-enthusiastic commenter who left a ton of comments on my blog within a few hours, making me very suspicious. We are often faced with suspicious comments, so what do we do? How should we handle them?
- Blog Struggles: Taking The Moral High Blogging Ground addresses the issue of deciding which ethical and moral road to take on your blog.
- Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it.
- Blog Struggles: It’s The Rituals That Help Us Focus: I share some of the rituals I use to get me “in the blogging mood” and ask you to share yours.
- Blog Struggles: When An Old Post is New Again takes a look at some of the struggles I’ve had when a past post suddenly gets picked up and sensationalized. I discuss the methods I use for keeping my old posts up to date, especially when fame comes knocking.
- Blog Struggles: Recovering From a Traffic Spike really touched a lot of people as they related to the addiction that traffic spikes bring, as well as the hassles.
- Blog Struggles: Surviving the When Blogging Goes Bad Blues look at how to keep on writing when life gets in the way.
- Blog Struggles: When Is Your Blog Focus Too Narrow? What happens when you set your blog purpose and focus too narrow – is there room to grow and change?
- A Blogger’s Life: Why Blog and When Do You Stop Blogging? There comes a time when you may choose to stop blogging. Before that time comes, ask yourself, really, why do you blog?
- Blog Struggles: Negative Campaigning Isn’t Just For Politicians looks at the power of the negative and how it holds the attention of so many in the world, not just in the blogosphere. Is it really necessary? Can we blog with positive optimism again soon?