Blogger time management

Managing such a popular blog, brand, and all the offshoots (bride tribe, e-mail, advertisers, interns) must be exhausting. What kind of activities related to your brand do you focus on daily to keep yourself from going crazy? -Meg

First and foremost, I couldn't do it without help. Delegation is a huge part of how I stay sane. The OBT would have been shut down over a year ago if I didn't have five moderators keeping an eye on it for me. Offbeatbride.com would have half as many posts if I didn't have my beloved interns (current intern Megan, and Shrie, my alum) cranking out the bride profiles, and I would lose my mind if Megan wasn't watching comments like a hawk, deleting bitchy stuff within minutes of it being posted. She manages the twitter feed and the flickr pool, and I'd be lost (LOST!) without her. I still read every single blog comment, but I do it knowing that Megan's likely caught the bad stuff.

Over the years I've also become the master of email triage. I used to be a slave to my email, compulsively responding to every message as quickly as I possibly could. These days, I respond to less than half the Offbeat Bride mail that comes in. I skim and immediately discard press releases from businesses and questions from brides using me as a search engine ("What are good wedding venues in Cleveland? Where can I find a ruffled tux?" …why, let me google that for you!). Wedding porn nominations and advice questions get filed for future reference, but usually don't get a response. Lots of sweet fan mail gets read and squeed over, but I don't always have time to respond. Plus, I suck at accepting compliments and never know what to say. (Ack, sorry. :()

I still wrestle with feeling a bit bad about not having time to respond to all the wonderful messages I get, but it comes down to this: I can either spend half my time responding to emails, or I can focus that time on producing stuff for Offbeat Bride. I chose the latter.

This sounds weird, but when I get stressed or overwhelmed by OBB, it calms me down to pick through the rubble of my webstats. I live in google analytics, mybloglog, feedburner, facebook insight, ShareThis reports, etc. When it all feels a little out of control, the cold hard data is oddly comforting.

One thing I DON'T do is read many wedding blogs. I have a tiny handful of sites that I read for personal enjoyment, but I think one of the risks of the blogosphere is that it becomes an echo chamber … with everyone writing about the same stuff rather that producing new content. When I used to write a gossip/fashion column for Disney/Movies.com, I got super irritated by how ALL the gossip sites has the same photos and same stories. With OBB, I focus my time on producing my stuff — not reading other people's. This makes me a bad networker, but it's like email: I can either network, or I can focus on working on my site. I chose the latter.

So, in summary, every day for me is email triage (but only answering some of it), stats, talking with the intern, and reading comments. I try to stay away from the OBT (it's too easy to get sucked in, and the mods are on it!), other wedding blogs/twitter/networking/etc, and feeling like I need to answer every single email that comes in.

  1. Hey, that's cool that you come to Shambhala! I grew up in the Kootenays where the festival takes place, and I still live just outside of Nelson with my fiance. I'm not a raver myself, and don't like giant crowds like the ones that happen at Shambhala, so I've never been to it, but lots of people I know go every year, and our little town becomes a totally different place for about 3 weeks around Shambhala… To be honest, it's a time of year I don't like very much! But I still think it's cool that you're coming here, and if you want to meet a Nelson "offbeat bride" feel free to e-mail me. I work at an infamous natural foods co-op downtown, where LOTS of Shambhalers frequent before and after the festival. And I'm part of the "Tribe" (OBB Tribe, that is…)!

  2. Shambs has been my summer raison d'etre for years – I always love seeing folks with kiddies or babes on the way. It reminds us of the PLUR, right (LOL – with age I'm turnging into the hippy ravers I used to roll my eyes at)!

    I hope you and baby have an awesome time this year! And a well deserved rest :)

  3. Shambs has been my summer raison d'etre for years – I always love seeing folks with kiddies or babes on the way. It reminds us of the PLUR, right (LOL – with age I'm turning into the hippie ravers I used to roll my eyes at)!

    I hope you and baby have an awesome time this year! And a well deserved rest :)

  4. How did I miss that you're pregnant? I guess wedding planning has pulled me down out for the blogosphere. New book – Offbeat Mama? The Offbeat Baby?

    • How about an "Offbeat Life"? For those of us who can't get preggers… LOL
      The there is always
      Offbeat Pet
      Offbeat Parent
      Offbeat Wannabe
      And… Offbeat Divorce?
      …Or is my sense of humour a little too offbeat?
      P.S. Love your work. Your book is being inherited by my sister.

  5. I just love Ariel and Megan and feel blessed to be a part of this OBB family. Thanks for letting me contribute and hone my writing chops!

  6. you gotta go dancing while the baby is an inside passenger! trust me, it's a lot harder to make it happen when it's earthside. i was dancing away at 2am at 39 weeks pregnant… now i have a 13 month old & i haven't been dancing since! glad to hear that offbeatmama is taking place – really looking forward to that launch.

  7. Though this makes me sound like I'm the Meg that asked the question (and I'm not) this is helpful. I too feel guilty about all the email I can't answer… but many nights it comes down to hang out with my partner or answering mail, and that is an obvious choice. Also, I will now not feel as guilty deleting those "I don't have time to figure it out so can you figure it out?" emails. Because yeah. If you don't have time, I DEFINITELY don't have time.

    So. Thanks.

  8. Thanks for answering my question – and sorry for sic-ing Andreas! I had my own offbeat wedding last Saturday, and I had a corset top too. I was discussing with my husband when I should wear it again, as I feel it's a fine line between wearing it too much so that it doesn't feel like a special clothing item anymore, and not wearing it enough and letting it sit in it's little box in the wardrobe. I'm sure I'll find some special occasions :-) and it's sweet to see you shared yours with your mom!

  9. Yay I can't wait for Offbeat Mama! You really are helping women everywhere. And it is always fun to read your responses to questions – I love this feature :)

  10. I'm totally planning on re-purposing my dress as a show costume, as soon as I can re-finish and fit it properly (didn't have time before the wedding so it was a bit kludged together. Oh, the joys of d.i.y.)

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