The First #CmgrChat Digest – 9/8/10 (Time Mgmt)

David Spinks put it the best when he said this week:

“So many community managers…what took us so damn long to start a twitter chat? It’s like…what we do.”

And it’s true – this started as an idea last month and Kelly and I both thought someone somewhere would come out and say, “Don’t worry about it, there already is one.”  For our first community chat neither of us knew what exactly to expect, and it couldn’t have gone any better.

The first topic was “Time Management” with 761 tweets and 88 contributors.  Without any further ado, here’s the overall digest of the chat, but don’t forget to check out the full transcript on Also, thanks to the fantastic Kate Buck Jr, if you would like to follow any or all of the chat participants, please check out this tweepml group that was made.


Q1: What tips/tricks/tools have you found useful in managing time?

JennaLanger: I’m pretty bad at consistently using tools, but I use simple things like Google Tasks to keep my priorities in order

TeresaBasich:Things (task mgmt software), Google calendar, and and the timer on my phone.

DavidSpinks: Twitter is great for managing time. I manage it right until 5pm when I start doing my work.

bcromlish: I use Outlook 2010, I find it works great

jimstorer: When I get online in the evening I don’t plug in my power cord and use my battery as a limitation on how late I work.

Draddog: Really good spreadsheets with every day ‘s events detailed.

mongoosemetrics: Shared calendars in Microsoft Outlet increase productivity for me.

Buggheart: I also block out time on my calendar to get things done (hopefully) undisturbed

KellyLux: One of my fav little tools is Hootsuite’s hootlet bookmarklet

blaisegv: Big fan of @producteev for todo list management, great for team motivation with achievement leaderboard

heidianspaugh: I just use good old-fashioned post-it notes with To-Do lists!

elysa: I am a huge fangirl of @rememberthemilk for organizing tasks. I have iPhone app and use web tools also

DavidSpinks: You can use tweetalerts to notify you when you’re mentioned on twitter. So you don’t have to check it all day.

@JPedde: I have one giant excel file called “Social Media Main”–tabs keeping track of all blogs, numbers, etc.

KellyLux: I just created a huge whiteboard calendar with all my upcoming events, chats, posts, etc. & it’s color-coded for my communities

DavidSpinks: I use to get tweet alerts.


Q2: What tasks have you found to be timewasters and have abandoned?

krusk: I’ve stopped trying to do ALL the company blogging, now spend time encouraging employees to blog

AnnaOBrien: Biggest timewaster is reading every single brand mention out there. Sure it’s insightful, but it’s not maintainable

ryanshell: Negative comment policy is crucial. At some point u have to stop going round and round. When & how should b addressed.

Draddog: That’s easy – fighting with trolls. If you can’t turn them into good community citizens, best to leave them alone 😉

jdross: Time waster? Obsessing over things you’ll never be able to change/correct. As long as you move positive messages, don’t stress.

bbenishek:Possibly handling/interpreting metrics, but only b/c that takes dedicated time I don’t always have.

TeresaBasich: Unnecessary meetings/conference calls. Ditched those nice and quick

DavidSpinks: Twitter chats.

40deuce: I find sorting through what’s relevant and not in the blogosphere to waste a lot of my time. I work in SM and theres so much stuff

KellyLux: Finally realized that a blog post is not a short novel. What a relief!

jimstorer: Trying to solve problems via email. Picking up the phone (while so old school) is often the fastest route to a solution.

Q2.5 – What tasks are essential for managing time?

pushingvision: Setting time limits. And sticking to them.

Draddog: Schedule, schedule, plan, schedule and schedule some more. The better your schedule is the smoother things might go.


Q3 How much time do you spend managing projects v. managing your community?

Draddog: CMs should spend most of their time on community. Projects won’t count without the community.

jdross: Right now, more time on projects than community, only because we’re launching a new website. Hope to work more on community soon.

heidianspaugh:Good God, managing projects so I actually have time to manage the community is the BIGGEST challenge! Esp. when leading a team

writeonglass: The community comes first. Always. My team understands that, which is why I love being a part of it

KellyLux: I was spending more time in meetings than ‘in’ my communities. Now I block out 1 day/wk in office w/no mtgs & 1 remote day.

DavidSpinks: I’m in a unique role. I’d say 75% managing projects and 25% community.

AnnaOBrien: I think comm anagement and progect management goes hand in hand. I am always thinking, how does this project build my comm?

JPedde: It feels like I have all projects to manage and no real time for community. No interns, no team. It’s tough.

SueOnTheWeb: A lot of my time is spent supporting our volunteer moderators.

kmithani: It seems like my projects and community overlap and I end up handling both at the same time.

blaisegv: The communities are my project – spend most of my time on universal strategy, dipping into specific community teams to guide.

JPedde: I try and separate my day with community stuff in the morning, projects in the afternoon, while keeping an eye on comm stuff

Toby_Metcalf: My team and I split time in our forums so we can work on projects and manage the community


Q4. Do you have rules concerning downtime? Are you ever ‘off-the-grid’?

LvM: I may check Twitter, etc periodically after work hours. Will only respond if I have time or it’s a fire. Rest can wait.

40deuce: Of course there’s a needed downtime, but sometimes it’s hard when you deal worldwide

Draddog: You *have* to be off-line. You cant run the community 24/7. Use volunteer mods to alert you after hours/weekends.

bbenishek: Maybe b/c this is a contract job, but my workday definitely ends–though I don’t stop thinking about it.

40deuce: I turn my phone notifier off for when I sleep. No working while sleeping #HardRule

jdross: Only one here who does this, so I can’t be off-the-grid yet. Even on recent vacation, I monitored, but scaled back participation.

SueOnTheWeb: No I am never off the grid. I am less active during downtime, but always around for mods/members and check email/cmty 24/7

writeonglass: I try to take some time for myself on weekends tho. Usually Sunday afternoon is a no tech time. It only lasts a few hours tho

KellyLux: I often work after hrs participating in chats (!), holding tweetups, mting w/SM colleagues. That’s when I’m not home on my laptop!

JPedde: I like to go on vacation 1000s of miles away and unplug. Unfortunately that happens about twice a year.

JennaLanger: It’s really hard to go off the grid. I constantly check my e-mail but only respond if it’s time sensitive. No balance yet

KellyLux: I think if we all went ‘off-the-grid’ at the same time, Twitter might go dark

DavidSpinks: Your company will not crumble to the ground if you’re not tweeting or an email waits until the morning.

ValentineLuLu: Getting outside once a week (optional outdoor activity day, hiking, etc.) means I have no choice but to unplug.

kmithani: I think our passion makes us never stay “off the grid” because we love what we do so much

JPedde: Sometimes I think it’s all or nothing, and hard to tell if that comes from internal or external pressures.

AnnaOBrien: It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. You should know that when you sign up to take on this responsibility.


Thanks to all who participated!  Make sure to come back to #cmgrchat every Wednesday from 2-3pm EST for more chats – and if you have any ideas or suggestions for future topics, leave comments or get in touch with myself or Kelly!

Enjoy this article?

Enter your email to receive free community management advice in your inbox:
About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.