Episode 61: TpT Business Time Management

Time is the most valuable commodity of a teacher and TpT author.  There is just never enough time and if you are managing your TpT store while still in the classroom then I have to tip my hat to you because you are amazing.

Time is a popular topic and there have been many books written about time management and productivity.  I recommend you read some because they are amazing and eye-opening.  I have read several of these books and heard about many tips on podcasts and they have influenced and changed the way I run my TpT business.

Here are a few of my favorite tips in no particular order:

  1. Schedule everything
  2. Set due dates
  3. Start with the hardest thing on your list and get it done
  4. Use completing a few easy tasks as motivation by gettting them crossed off your list. (Honestly I don’t love this one because I have a toddler so I need every minute I have for bigger tasks, but I know some people love this.)
  5. Work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break
  6. Schedule just enough time to complete a task.
  7. Make a plan
  8. Plan to get 2-3 things done in a working period/day 
  9. Plan on one large task each week
  10. Batch

Today I am going to talk a little bit about how some of these have influenced my business, particularly in the area of blogging.

Over the last several months I decided that I would put on my writer’s hat for a week and try to get all my blogs done for the following month.  Every podcast and book I read talked about batching and I was experienced enough in my business that I thought I was ready to try it out.  I was also learning about how to write a more effective blog at the same time.

What I quickly realized was that batching is not easy.  It’s really hard to plan, write, edit, and create graphics for 4-5 blogs that are at least 1,500 words in one week.  It sounds easy and doable since I had been writing a blog every week for at least 6 months, but it wasn’t easy.  It always took me much longer than I intended, which also meant that I wasn’t creating as many products as I wanted.

As teachers, we are constantly ready to revaluate and rework the problematic areas of our day/week/month.  So that’s what I did.  I asked myself how I could get it done in the amount of time I wanted.  I had already applied several time management and productivity tips.

  1. I scheduled 5 days each month for blogging
  2. I had the due date of the end of the week, but at the latest it needed to be done by the following Thursday for posting.
  3. I planned a day for research and brainstorm, three days for writing, a day for editing and a day to create graphics.
  4. I’d work on writing and take a break.
  5. The entire process was batching.

So with these in place, I still needed to reevaluate how to make this work.  My schedule is mostly restricted by my toddler so that’s was the biggest challenge.

The Fix to My Time Management Problem

I did two things to fix this scheduling problem.  

  1. I went from five days of writing to seven.  I just planned that it would take Sunday and Saturday too.  Writing always took me longer than I expected and sometimes I am not a great judge of time.  I try not to schedule TpT for the weekends.  If I finish everything then I have free relaxing time and if I don’t there is time for me to finish some work. However I decided that during my blogging week I should plan to take this time for blogging.  It gives me a more realistic time frame.
  1. I decided that whatever I got done during the time I scheduled would be what I would post. Blogging is a long-term growth plan for my business.  I started a blog literally because I heard other TpT sellers say that I should and then found that I like it.  I don’t have to post every week.  It’s good for my website if I do, but okay if I don’t.  

So I changed my mindset. I decided to stick with my plan.  One day to plan, three days to write, two days to edit, and one day for graphics.  These might overlap slightly, but I will stick to my plan.  If I get three blogs planned, written, and edited then those are the three I will post that month.  If I get one for each week that’s great, but if I only get two done that’s okay too.  

The funny thing is I think this plan to publish what’s done took some of the pressure off to finish all the blogs.  It was so much easier to blog when I knew if it wasn’t done there might be a week without a blog.  

I’ve only had success with this time management plan for one month so far, but I’m hoping that it will continue to work for me in future months.  I am hoping that as time goes on my writing will get more efficient and will maybe even take less time than I plan for.

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