What Would You Do with an Extra 30 Minutes?

Chris Brogan wrote a blog a week or so ago about what he’d do if he suddenly found himself with some unscheduled time, such as a flight delayclock. The only thing I remember from his list is he’d write a recommendation on LinkedIn. That’s a good task to knock off your to-do list but probably wouldn’t make my top ten list. If I had 30 minutes of unexpected time open up, here is what I’d do:

  1. Writers need to be organized so I’d re-organize and prioritize my tasks. I’m always making lists and checking off completed items, which means sometimes my lists get messy. I find that taking a few minutes to clean them up and create clear priorities helps me stay relaxed and be more productive.
  2. Research new social media sites. I have a list of social media sites that I keep meaning to investigate. 30-minutes is just about the right amount of time to really dig into a social media site, see what they’re trying to do and then compare their value to some of the better known sites. Since a lot of people ask me about social media I feel an obligation to be well versed on the subject.
  3. I like to take 30 minutes and focus on one blog post or one client so I ask myself one question: What can I do or recommend that will improve a blog or a business? Sometimes this results in a proposal but most of the time, if it’s a client idea, I just call them, share the idea and let them know that I’m thinking about them. In my experience these types of phone calls are very well received.
  4. Call a friend. Everyone is busy so it’s hard to stay in touch with all the important people in our lives. Give me 30 minutes and I can leave voice-mails, no one answers anymore, for 5-6 people and just say, “Hello, I was thinking about you and wanted to touch base.”. (I need to do more of this.)
  5. I subscribe to the online version of the Wall Street Journal but don’t read it everyday. Sometimes, as a change of pace, I’ll open it up and read whatever interests me. Typically, I tweet a link to the most interesting articles. It’s my favorite source of Tweets and a good source of blog ideas.
  6. I subscribe to several business journals and receive summaries regularly. It’s a good way to keep current on events and has, on occasion, been the source of new business. It typically takes 5-10 minutes to get through one summary. Tiss too can be a good idea-generator for bloggers.
  7. Promote my blog. Few blogs grow readership by themselves, you have to promote them. I use Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn (primarily) to let folks know a new post is up. In addition, I read several other blogs and leave comments, which is a good way to get people to read blog, in return, and you help grow an audience.
  8. Speaking of blogs, 30 minutes is just enough time to brainstorm blog topics and write a short paragraph outline.
  9. Pet my dog, take him for a walk or just look out the window. I have long days and seldom take a day off so every once in a while I just need to step away from the desk or whatever I’m working on to relax and regain my perspective.
  10. Clean up my desktop. By the end of the week my computer screen is often cluttered. I don’t like clutter so spending 10-15 minutes to get files organized and into a folder is time well spent. Since this is similar to #1, I’m adding a bonus idea, #11.
  11. Bonus: Check out the competition or one of my clients’ competitors. Websites are being changed all the time. My arsenal of intelligence gathering and website analysis tools is constantly expanding so it pays for me to take the time to do a little competitor checking.

What would you do?


  7 comments for “What Would You Do with an Extra 30 Minutes?

  1. December 7, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    You “read several other blogs and leave comments…”

    Matt Mullenweg (the WordPress dude) got himself quoted in Wired, “Don’t participate in Comments. Mazke it clear that your post itself is for anointed authors who don’t mix with the hoi polloi in the comments ghetto… those people silly enough to contribute content to your site for free should feel ignored.”
    So, Steve are we anointed? Are you ignoring me? Steve? Steve….

  2. December 7, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Peter I read your blog this morning about Japan TV.

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t think to leave a comment because I focus on business issues, writing and digital marketing. Blogs that focus on those subjects I read often and leave comments. Other subjects…well, not so much.

    Personally, I don’t agree with Matt. I’m not saying he’s wrong but, if those are his words, then he sounds arrogant and condescending.

  3. December 7, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I’ll send everybody a private reply about reading other blogs and leaving comments.

  4. December 8, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    If I had an extra 30 minutes, I’d eat, pee and go for a walk before diving back into that darn digital vortex that makes me forget to attend to basic personal needs.

  5. December 9, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Karen, OMG. That’s too funny! As you knew when you wrote it, what makes it so funny is it’s so true. Yes, in most instances that is what I and most people would/should do.
    Bless you, Mother Shaffer.

  6. December 9, 2009 at 6:19 am

    30 minutes?? Wow, is this 30 kidless minutes? 30 minutes completely free to do whatever I want without the demands of my family, blog, real world???

    Does this seriously happen? Does anyone out there actually find themselves with 30 FULL minutes to do with whatever they want? A girl can ONLY dream!

    ok, so in a fantasy world what would I do with my extra 30 minutes…
    I would:
    -take a bubble bath
    -go get a hair cut
    -a manicure (haven’t had one since I was 16)
    -take a nice walk (gosh the things I could see without chasing a bratty dog, carrying a fussy 3 year old, listening to a grumy husband, taking sticks from a 10 year old (to hit his 7 year old brother), and comforting a 7 year old… all while trying to take pictures of our “happy” family moment for the scrapbooks!)

    Just those would make me so happy. LOL!

  7. December 9, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Kellie, thanks for the comment. Now I know what to get you for Christmas.

    P.S. “Tell” your husband you’re going to take a BB Bath, he’s got the kids and…just, go. That’s what my wife did and I adjusted remarkably well. I don’t think the kids were in high school by the time I figured out she wasn’t coming back for an hour.

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