How do you find the time?

It seems every time I give a presentation on Web tools one of the questions I’m asked by overwhelmed participants is – how do you find the time to keep up with everything? I give an off the top of my head answer, which, while truthful, doesn’t cover everything. I’m hoping writing about it will help me give a clearer answer next time, maybe get some tips and tricks from you and provide a reference point for future questioners.

  • I dont’ try to keep up with everything. There is so much going on, I think it would be impossible to try to do it al and have a balanced life, so I accept that there will always be something I don’t know about.
  • I have a great network of people; when I find something new I share, when they find something new they share
  • I take what I like and throw the rest out. I’ll try most new services, set up an account, play with it for a while. If doesn’t click or do what I want, I stop using it.
  • I dont’ use every tool everyday. Twitter is often overwhelming to me, and it interrupts me when I’m really focusing, so some days I don’t check in at all. I know I miss some good things, but it’s part of that “can’t do everything” acceptance.
  • I’m organized – I use a feed reader and have over 10 folders. One title daily – those are the blogs that have high priority, I don’t necessarily read them every day but if I have time they are the first ones that get read. This is a select folder and there are never more than 10 blogs in there. Other blogs are organized under subject. I try to read most of these once a week or so.
  • I don’t try to do everything at once. First I got a Myspace page, mastered that (it took a while let me tell you and I cursed Myspace more than once) then I moved on to the next thing.
  • I use gmail for my email list subscriptions, it groups emails together which makes is easy to follow conversations or delete the whole thread if I’m not interested. It also allows me to create custom labels (instead of folders) and sort incoming email by those and color code them!

Tools I use: a feed reader, blogs, email lists, FriendFeed, Facebook, Twitter, but use what works for you and you feel comfortable with. When I help my coworkers get organized I do 4 things with them

  • set up a feed reader, show them how to use it and organize it
  • put 5 library blogs in it that I recommend they read
  • add folders for other RSS feeds they’d like to follow
  • tell them to take half an hour everyday to read them.

What tricks do you use?

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3 comments for “How do you find the time?

  1. June 9, 2008 at 10:21 am

    When this post popped up on Twitter, I got a response from someone (I don’t know if he wants to be indentified) to read this http://www.shirky.com/herecomeseverybody/2008/04/looking-for-the-mouse.html

    I really liked it so I thought I’d share

  2. June 9, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Great post, Bobbi. I get asked this a lot, too. I think another thing that works for me is to make it fun. If I just tried to learn any of these things for the sake of learning them, I’d probably get pretty bored pretty quickly. I think it’s only in the context of really connecting with friends and colleagues, really communicating, really getting into the community, that I can understand and enjoy them.

    I think we each have 24-hours in the day and we have different responsibilities and different priorities. People ask this about all kinds of things, “how do you find time to read?” “how do you find time to exercise?” “how do you find time to knit?” (OK, I don’t knit, but you get the point). :)

  3. June 10, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    You’re right Brenda, the things that aren’t fun (and often in my case, easy) get dropped pretty fast. It’s definitely the people using them and you’re connecting with that makes them a success and fun to use.

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