Time Management tips when writing multiple blogs

Filed as Guides on November 9, 2005 2:00 am

by Duncan

I’ve written about time management before but with a continued increase in my blogging activity of late I’ve had to do some serious reassessment of how and when I blog and manage the various blogging related tasks I have lately. From this I’ve made some changes to the way I operated that I’d like to share.

1. Email is the enemy
I suppose I’ve always known this but recently I had become so consumed with dealing with email (and not dealing with it when there was just too much) that my blogging had started to suffer. I haven’t given up on email completely but I’ve changed the way I prioritise it.

Now I don’t read all my email in the morning. I’ll have a quick look through the list and find anything that needs to be posted or appears to be urgent, and I’ll deal with these, but other emails are left for later in the day, only once I’ve got through blogging to my various sites

2. Better feed management
I shake my head when I read bloggers boasting how they have 400-500 subscriptions in their feed reader accounts. I peaked at 120 and recently I’ve actually been cutting them back, and including links to a number of my own sites I’m down to 88 feeds at the time of writing, and will probably change a few more over the next couple of days. This reduction at a time that I’ve actually increased my level of blogging 2 fold and over more sites. You’ve really got to start asking questions about the feeds you read if you want to maximse your blogging time. I still subscribe to blogs from individuals, and a number of “fun” personal interest feeds as well (Slashdot and Wired come to mind), but I’ve focused a lot of my feeds on major sites and/ or companies or people who posts a lot of information and/ or point to other sites. For example, I have subscriptions to RSS feeds from Topix, Yahoo! News, MSN and Google on a number of topics, and blogs such as Problogger and ThreadWatch also give me a reasonable run down of anything I’ve missed over night. I would hope that the Blog Herald also provides a similar service to readers as well.

3. Better feed grouping
I realised that my feeds were all over the place so I’ve rearranged them into folders that directly relate to the blog I’m writing about, or the subject matter (for example I have a stats folder that shows incoming links info for my blogs). Not jumping around to individual feeds means that I click on the topic area for the specific blog and all the news is presented in front of me, in one list for me to read.

4. Speed reading Bloglines
Following on from point 3, I also no longer post to a blog once I find something interesting to write about in my feeds: I open the story of interest in a new tab (in Firefox by clicking the scroll wheel on my mouse) and I only come back to read it, and perhaps post about it (I would probably only post 1 in 2 or 3 I open) after going through all the items for that blog. It means I’m not swapping and changing between Bloglines, the administration interface of the blog and the item of interest regularly. Its saves time and actually works.

5. Power posting
Once I’ve got through my feeds for the particular blog, I “power post” what I’m interested in for that particular blog, and I don’t get distracted or change to anything else until I’m finished. If I’m concerned that I’m posting too much content in a short period of time (depending on the blog) I’ll pre-post them: ie, in WordPress if you change the time stamp to a time forward of the current point and publish the post it will only physically be posted to the site at the time specified. There are arguments for and against this practice, but if you’re looking to have content regularly posted to your blog but don’t want to be writing it all day this is a handy feature to use.

6. Repeat 4 and 5 for each blog.

7. Once finished return to email and deal with any remaining emails.

Does this work? we’ll I’ve improved my efficency greatly since doing things this way, and what’s more I’m enjoying blogging more again as well.

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  1. By John Evans (SYNTAGMA) posted on November 9, 2005 at 6:12 am
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    Snap! Duncan. I’ve had the same problem myself. In fact I posted a similar, but less informative, piece on my blog yesterday. Good advice, especially about feed readers. They can eat up your day. They’re not called “feeds” for nothing :-)

  2. By Christina Jones posted on November 9, 2005 at 7:29 am
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    Thanks Duncan-this is good time management information for anyone working on the www. BIG problem for me. I think I have the same email issues as you-I will try your advice. Thanks! :)

  3. By Loren posted on November 9, 2005 at 11:33 am
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    Thanks Duncan. I need to cut down on the time I spend looking at ad revenue reports and referral stats too, seems like I’m logging in every 5 minutes to look for a golden egg.

  4. By Ignat posted on November 9, 2005 at 4:34 pm
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    Great stuff. Organizing RSS feeds into folders is a huge time saver. I was getting pretty bugged out with constantly looking for news to post on my blogs. I guess I never figured out that organization can be a huge time saver.

  5. By Satish Talim posted on November 9, 2005 at 9:33 pm
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    Very helpful. Already I am seeing the difference.

  6. By ME posted on November 10, 2005 at 3:25 pm
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    I’m right with you, Duncan. As much as I like to start the morning with a nice slow read anc my coffee. It’s really the most uninterrupted time to write and think things through.

  7. By Pito Salas posted on November 10, 2005 at 10:14 pm
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    Check out: http://www.blogbridge.com/archives/2005/11/the_addictive_p.php – it turns out that BlogBridge, a product that I am working on, has a bunch of tools just to deal with this kind of problems:

    – star ratings to let you say which of your feeds are most important to you
    – filters to hide the less important feeds (but not delete them because you might need them later)
    – SmartFeeds to cull good stuff out of those hidden feeds into one place without cluttering up your life
    – Feed Cleanup Folder to specify criteria to delete the really useless feeds (like how often you look, how often they update, how many stars)

    Check it out: http://www.blogbridge.com/archives/2005/11/the_addictive_p.php or try the application: http://www.blogbridge.com/install/stable/blogbridge.jnlp

  8. By Gerard McGarry posted on November 14, 2005 at 5:39 pm
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    To speed read faster, I often click on the Bloglines folder rather than read each feed individually. It saves a little on load time and wipes off a load of unread folders immediately!

    Bizarrely, because blogging isn’t my primary money-spinner, I gained most productivity by moving Bloglines OFF my firefox homepage!

  9. By Mariano posted on December 27, 2005 at 11:45 pm
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    Great stuff. As I increase the number of my blogs I need to reorganize my time and change the way I blog constantly. Your way seems to be well thought but I think if email is the enemy, IMs are the atomic bomb for me, by far more time consuming…