Last week I posted my time wasters (in case you forgot) and some solutions. Below are the time wasting activities; with solutions linked.
- Not knowing what to blog about first.
- Email, or should I say EMAIL!
- Moderating and responding to blog comments.
- Breaks during work hours.
- Getting side tracked while posting.
- Sleep, meals, and exercise.
I haven’t mentioned forums yet, because my solution is pretty dull – quit visiting forums. Or at least really limit yourself. Forums have been a total time waste for me the last few months; mainly, I think, because I’m one of those helpful by nature sorts.
If you’re new to the world of blogging or freelance writing you can learn a lot by visiting blogging or writing forums. I’ve made many good friends at forums so I do appreciate them. However, if you’ve been writing or blogging a while, what happens is that you tend to offer too much help at forums, and don’t gain as much useful help back. Offering help is really nice, and not a bad use of time in general, but it’s also not a great use of time when you have work to get done.
When I frequent forums, I tend to get emails asking for personal help often. That’s cool. People helped me out when I was a newbie, and I do believe you should give back. It used to be I answered every single email I’d get from new writers or bloggers, but right now, my life is super busy. I just don’t have the time to answer every email. I wish I did, but I don’t. That said; I’ve drastically cut my forum time. I only visit three forums, and I never visit daily. I stop by once a week or so to see what’s new. Also, even when I do visit a forum, I tend to just read, not respond.
Being too helpful is not an activity that’s only attached to forums though. Along with cutting out most of my forum time, I’ve cut out answering emails from folks I don’t know, that don’t pertain to my blog topic. Say at Offbeat Homes. If you email about a house, it’s 100% likely I’ll respond. If you email asking for help about a blog, or how to find work, it’s unlikely I’ll respond. This is kind of a switch for me, a hard switch actually. I love to talk about blogging, I love to help people out, but there’s a point where being helpful is too draining, and that’s where I’m at right now.
Does this make me less nice? I don’t know, maybe. I actually do feel a little guilty when I delete emails. I tell myself, this is not about people I know, or friends I have already, this is about strangers emailing asking me really in-depth questions, that would take time to answer. Overall though, it’s tough not to respond. Since I have quit helping out so much, I do have more time to work though, so it’s a time management solution for sure.
Are you helpful to people you don’t know? How much help do you offer at forums? Where do you draw the line about who to help out, and who to let go?