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Time Management

08 Mar

This question was about the time I was spending writing posts for one of my Blogs (I maintain four). To answer, I used how I managed my time as a teacher. 

 We have a need for the efficiency and worth of our efforts, don’t we?

 If I ramble in my response, it is because of the comparative example I provide and there are far too many elements involved beyond the Blog.

It would take time to keep track of the time.  Even after I finish meeting my goal each day, I still get e-mail alerts from the Blog when a comment is left and I return to reply.  For me, it’s a survival process learned as a teacher.  You take care of what needs taking care of at the instant it needs your attention.

When I was teaching, my workday started when I woke up at 4:00 AM to get ready to go to school.  I would arrive at 6:00 AM when the gates were unlocked and have two hours to correct papers, prep and plan, record grades, etc.  There were a hundred teachers on the staff at the high school where I taught.  Less than five of us arrived soon after the custodial day staff unlocked the gates. About the same number of teachers arrived seconds before the first bell.  Oh, how I hated bells.  Most teachers arrived in between the early starters and the later arrivers.

During lunch, I stayed in my classroom with a “few” students often coming and going. Especially when I was the journalism advisor for the school paper.  My editors would often arrive soon after I did and still be there when I left.

Some days, I would return home by midnight fortunate to get four hours of sleep. I had to leave my classroom because the custodians turned on the alarms, and so did the students that stayed late when I was the journalism adviser. And when I drove off, there would be two or three other teachers driving home too.

Every spare moment was spent correcting papers and I never finished.  My workweeks often ran 100 hours a week with 25 of those hours in class teaching.  The other 75 hours was spent correcting, prep, planning, parent contacts, attending meetings, etc. The public and politicians are so ignorant about what goes on in education it’s painful. The assumptions and solutions behind the Pollyanna Leave No Child Behind act are idiotic at best and I’m being polite.

I put one foot in front of the other foot and never stopped.  When needed, I made phone calls to parents, which was every day, because there were always problems that needed fixing or at least the attempt to fix and the record keeping was a mountain to climb that never stopped growing.  Every contact required a form to be filled out in triplicate. Every time a child caused a problem during class, another form had to be filled out in triplicate.

Marketing is both an exact and inexact science.  The Blog is only one element of the marketing process.  There’s the Websites for the books, and other social marketing like the conversation I’m involved in at LinkedIn about Obama’s national health care proposal, comments I leave at another site called the IAG, and other social Websites and blogs, answering E-mails that come often from friends, former colleagues from teaching, etc.

My books have also won honorable mentions at seven book festivals so far.  Then there are the reviews from Book Review Blogs and Websites like the Midwest Book Review to Peeking between the Pages and the time I spend maintaining my Websites. The primary Website has more than fifty pages on it and I haven’t checked the links on many of those pages for more than a year—no time.  I focus on the homepage and several others that are related to sales and promotion.  Many of the pages are about China. I also read books and write reviews for a Website Blog called PODBRAM.

Then there is the saying that seems so true.  “Half of marketing works and half doesn’t and we don’t know which half works.”

My goal is to learn as much as I can about all the elements of marketing and spend as much time working the methods as I can manage.  Even though the Blog shows page views increasing and page views increasing at my Websites, there no way to pin down exactly which efforts are resulting in sales because I’m doing so much spread across a wide spectrum of the Internet.

As a teacher, we did study numbers.  We tracked grades, test scores and results and altered lessons to focus on the skills and concepts that the majority of students were having problems with. We targeted students who were borderline and stopped by their desks often to make sure they understood what they were doing and were on task because our goal was to move them to the next level.

My work habits were honed razor sharp in the classroom and like so many teachers who taught as long as I did, I am an expert at what it takes to educate a child while struggling not to become a burned out hulk, which happens to some.  Most parents, voters and politicians from both parties have no idea.  They are fools who won’t listen to the experts but blame them instead.

Back to marketing. For me, it is a process and I don’t have time to keep track of the time spent on any one element.

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