Twitter has a tendency to spawn humorous conversations that somehow turn into brilliant blogging ideas. When Ruby suggested that she needed a remedial class on how not to over commit, the rusty wheels of my brain began to turn. I can’t guarantee that this will turn into a real feature, but we’ll see how this goes.
Lesson #1: How Not to Over Commit
I think this is a common problem with a lot of book bloggers. We take review requests, sign onto book tours, host special events, write reviews, and attend to that other thing most of us call real life. I have three steps that should hopefully help to stop yourself from over-committing.
Step #1: Set priorities.
There are two levels to setting priorities. The first, and arguably most important, is how much time and energy you are willing to invest into book blogging. Give yourself a REALISTIC estimate of how much time you can devote to book blogging. The second level involves deciding how you want to divide the time you devote to book blogging. Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to decide what your blogging priorities are:
- What is the purpose of my book blog?
- If I were forced to choose only two or three different things to have on my blog (e.g., reviews, memes, features, events, read-alongs, bookish news, discussion posts), what would I choose? These should be your main priorities.
- Which things on my blog take the most of my time?
For example, my reviews and features are most important to me. In this sense, I include Top Off Tuesday and Clock Rewinders as features. Before I accept or take on anything, I make sure that it does not interfere with my ability to post reviews or my features. Everything beyond that is fun. I also know that events take more time to plan and execute than say… read-alongs or discussion posts, so I am likely going to commit to things that take up less of my time first. Or, alternatively, if I sign up to do an event, I’ll be less likely to commit to anything else during that time.
Step #2: Before starting an endeavor (i.e., engaging in any of the above mentioned book blogging activities), make a mental list of what is already on your agenda and what said endeavor will require from you.
This is probably most important. The idea is to think critically about what you’re doing. You have to look past the excitement or desire of whatever it is and focus on what you are actually committing yourself to.
- Does this fit into my priorities?
- Do I have the time to devote to this endeavor?
- Will the benefits outweigh the amount of work this will take?
Do not commit to anything until you can safely and realistically answer yes to the above questions. Don’t forget that whatever you commit to will likely take more time than you’ve allotted.
Step #3: Learn how to say, “No.”
If you CANNOT answer, “Yes,” to ALL the questions in Step #2, then you must decline. You must say, “No.” The good thing? You have a built in explanation: “I would love to, but I don’t have the time to commit to this. Thank you for thinking of me.”