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How do you find time for webmastering?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by kyrgyz, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. kyrgyz

    kyrgyz Well-Known Member

    Need advice from you, guys. I can't seem to manage my time efficiently when running websites. It just consumes me. Day after day can get exhausting. I am about to call it quits. How do you handle the impact it has on your normal life?
  2. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Well-Known Member

    fury, Caelum, Eagle and 1 other person like this.
  3. Biker

    Biker Well-Known Member

    Once I have things set to where I like, my staff does the day-to-day running of the forums. I spend approximately an hour in the morning on the server checking logs and ensuring it's running properly (dedicated box), but as far as the forums go, I'm pretty much hands off. Having a top notch staff is key to maintaining your sanity.
    kyrgyz likes this.
  4. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    I would have a difficult time with multiple sites.......so I only run my large single site. Many years ago I used to do sites for clients - that was very hard as they make demands on your time.
    Properly done, webmastering can be one of the best jobs in the world. In fact, at one time in the 1990's it was deemed to be exactly that!
  5. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    24 hours a day minus 6 for sleep and 1 for eating and ablutions = 17 hours.

    Where's the problem?

    GeeksChat and ShadyX like this.
  6. DaKat

    DaKat Well-Known Member

    And work. Gotta throw in some time at the office, too. Unfortunately. :ROFLMAO:
  7. trilogy33

    trilogy33 Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear that.
    Before it consumes you, (moreso) get some Staff - that:
    1) you've met
    2) can trust // with certain tasks
    3) have at least a basic working knowledge of said tasks or can be trained up, slowly if need be
    All the best (y)
  8. DRE

    DRE Well-Known Member

    Running multiple sites SUCK. I suggest you stick with one or two.
    ShadyX likes this.
  9. kyrgyz

    kyrgyz Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tips, guys. I am finding out I do much better when I am away from my comps. But the gravitational pull is still too strong to escape right away. :( Gracias.
  10. James

    James Well-Known Member

    Have you considered prioritising your day-to-day tasks that are consuming so much time and seeing if you can delegate some of the tasks to staff/trusted associates?
  11. kyrgyz

    kyrgyz Well-Known Member

    I have a couple of friends helping me out. No matter to what degree I delegate day-to-day tasks, I am still consumed by pms, requests, legal letters, etc. I feel like a male-office-secretary-in-chief. Thanks for the advice though.
  12. Biker

    Biker Well-Known Member

    This is where you need to put your foot down and tell the membership that you do have a staff that is fully capable of handling the day-to-day issues on the site and start ignoring the BS that normally comes from the membership. Your staff can forward anything that requires your intervention or action.

    Seriously. You can't be a one man show all the time. It gets old in a hurry and you burn out. Next thing you know, you're chasing members around with a chainsaw and pruning half the membership in a fit of rage. :D
  13. James

    James Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you should set up PM auto-responders to usergroups aside from your trusted staff, that way they shouldn't hassle you.
    kyrgyz likes this.
  14. Morgain

    Morgain Well-Known Member

    This problem isn't specifically about running forums.
    I don't have this problem on my own forums either of them, as the membership is small on both. But I do have it in general through running a) a business b) a community project c) major renovations on a huge old house which is part of the commun ity project, and finally d) I'm disabled with frequent episodes where my energy is cut way down.

    DELEGATION is one answer. But delegation actually demands time to set up - showing others what needs to be done and monitoring their early stages in the role to avoid too many mistakes. There always are mistakes though and this eats up more time. At first delegation can actually worsen the problem by training and troubleshooting.
    However if a bit of time can be freed by other means it is a good longer term solution.

    EFFICIENCY SHORTCUTS - set aside 10 mins a couple times a week or hopefully more often to look at a working practice to see if you can cut the time you need on it.
    Ask - what are the most time consuming/ stressful tasks? Then - how can this be cut down a bit?
    Template emails. Information guides you can point to instead of explaining.
    A big help I use is Firefox Clippings where I have lots of pre-set messages and even bits of code stored. It works in forum textareas as well as emails.
    A good time to mull this over is lying in a bath. You're getting relaxation at the same time, and the womblike effect stimiulates endorphins, the creative thinking hormones.

    PERSONAL MAINTENANCE Are you getting exercise? If not you'll work much slower and less efficiently. Coffee starts to not work if you rely on it without exercise!
    Get some exercise at least twice preferably three times a week. You'll zoom through things faster and more constructively instead of dragging.
    Diet should be low on carbohydrates as this drags energy and brainpower down. Fish. Vegetables. Lots of liquid: a glass of water for every cup of coffee.
    Sex is also helpful (alone, partnered, poly). It cuts out a bit of efficiency time and tends to induce a nap. But the brain will rise up refeshed and efficient.

    RUTHLESS SELF PROTECTION In the end though it comes down to asking who is in charge here? Am I a slave? or am I a chieftain?
    If I am a chieftain I can MAKE THEM WAIT!
    If they don't get their stuff answered or fixed within the hour/ within 24 hours, it's not the end of the world. A lot of the time I'm dead efficient but there are periods where I have to just switch off and (silently) say F OFF for the sake of my sanity. Otherwise I feel like a rat on a treadmill and the community project at least is purely there for my pleasure, my dream.
    Contrary to my fears playing hookey (my absence) doesn't collapse the project unless I do it constantly of course. Part of the deep level of this is the core admin fantasy of being indispensable, the Great and Mighty Power. It's a lot of what attracts us to being admins: it makes us powerful. But not indispensable for a few mins, an hour, even a day. Deal with it.
    A half day a week completely OFF is vital to sanity and health. Minimum.
    Consider: if you collapse from overdoing it that isn't going to help them. They will lose worse than if you just back off a bit for now.
    Consider: if you let youerself become a slave drudge you WILL burn out, hate it, and give up.
    So - play hookey! It's good for efficiency.

    PRIORITIES Divide tasks into 3 levels.
    RED = must do TODAY. Define this by whether something disastrous will happen if I leave it to tomorrow.
    So I try to do them today but sometimes I don't make it. :)
    ORANGE = tomorrow/ next say after. Define this by whether it could just possibly wait till tomorrow or the next day. Earthquakes will not happen. WW3 will not start. Things on this level can either move up to RED, stay here on ORANGE, or even move downward as situations change.
    BLUE = can wait. This task could be put in the queue to be done later after the others. Items can be re-assessed to move up, or things can slip down here from higher levels.
    EACH LEVEL will tend to slip to the next on some of its items. Ya know what? That is actually quite helpful. In fact apart from the top RED items things can actually drift away and disappear before I get to them. Magic!
    fury and kyrgyz like this.
  15. kyrgyz

    kyrgyz Well-Known Member

    Wow....Morgain, you need to publish a self-improvement book or something. Awesome tips.

    Right now I need Hulk Smash or at least Brogan Smash moment. :)

  16. fury

    fury Member

    I wish I knew now what I knew then. Or is it that I wish I knew then what I know now? I forget...

    I know the feeling, and unfortunately I let it get to me all too often (even now I am still prone to it, although not as much as a few years ago). Morgain's post hits a grand slam.

    As my first two cents, I submit that the word "webmaster" is a little loaded. To me, it has a slightly negative connotation, feels more like a label that means I'm supposed or expected to be the master of all things (or at least all things web). I'm obviously not. I like to think of my role as more like a leader, or a ship's captain. I steer the ship, and like to take a walk to speak with the passengers, but there are a lot of very capable crew running around it making sure the hatches are battened down, the passengers are fed and cared for, and that the captain isn't losing sleep over it and steering the ship into a rock.

    The best way I've found to find time for it is to make time for other things. One must achieve balance with the force. Don't take time from your other activities to do this, or you won't want to do it at all anymore (as you are starting to feel). You need time off from it, just like you would need from work. When you start to feel the strain, take a break. What kind of break you take, only you can decide. Go outside and take a walk, jog, or run. Get on a forum with other admins and vent like so. Play a violent video game, if that's your cup of tea. Blowing off people's heads can blow off a lot of steam for me, as it is a stress reliever that I desperately need after work. Both work work & self-induced work (like working on a community in my spare time).

    Delegation has largely helped me have that balance. Fielding questions and responding to input directly with the users can bring goodwill, make me feel better for helping, and all that good stuff. The hero effect, if you will. It's important to feel that, it's part of the motivating factor that keeps people like us interested in doing what we're doing. But it is a dangerous double-edged sword, or perhaps a silent assassin, if left unchecked. Save your strength for the things that truly only you can do. Everything else can and should be taken care of by other people. If you're the only one people can go to for answers, fixes, etc., then you get the superhero effect. Superman didn't mind flying up a tree to rescue a kitten every time he turned around, but we're not Superman. It is just as bad if you make yourself frequently available for all of those little answers and fixes despite delegating. Let your people handle things. Let your members know who to go to for the little things. (At one point, I had edited the "new PM" template to trigger when someone was about to send me a message, and had it say something along the lines of "hey, sorry, but I can't be around every day to answer. Try another administrator, or one of our fabulous moderators")

    For me, the worst stresser is the barrage of common questions and complaints. People complaining without constructive input. People asking a question by typing a vague one-word title and then finishing the sentence with their post. Questions to which the answer is readily available in the user guide that I worked hard to create. All little stuff that isn't harmful on its own, and on a good day I absolutely don't mind answering. But that all adds up. Of course it's not their fault - their knowledge of the system is not as advanced as mine (naturally, since I've been working on it for months and I'm the one who set it up), so they don't immediately know where to look for answers, and thus they ask me. And of course, because I know and I'm such a damned helpful guy, I'm obliged to answer. So, it's basically only about how I let it get to me. They don't (and shouldn't have to) think about the cumulative effect it has on me; they aren't like me and wouldn't understand if I told them anyway. Then those little kitten rescues eat away at me slowly until all of a sudden I just want to wring the neck of the next person that asks "how do I post a picture" or "where is the new thread button?"

    Having people volunteer to take care of these day-to-day things for me has been the one key thing that made the difference between me leaving my site up and not. Of course, it means my presence is not felt as much in the forums as it would be otherwise, but it also means I can avoid getting superheroed out and quitting. Which is something I have unfortunately done before, more times than I care to count.

    (god, this post is a mess. sorry about that. I've edited and edited and edited, but that's another thing that I let stress me out sometimes...)
    Fuhrmann likes this.
  17. Morgain

    Morgain Well-Known Member

    I confess I do that kind of work but I do not like to promote it here as it has its disadvantages as a portrait of me. Sometimes it's useful if requested.

    Thank you kindly sir. If I'm anything to go by we never completely conquer this one. I still overdo it and burn out for all my good advice!

    Ah yes I have felt the same about "webmaster" and much happier as Webmistress too. I am no master!

    Oh very wise.

    Swim. Dance. Martial art. Archery. Hiking. Whatever. EXERCISE!

    Maybe I should try it!

    Delegation has largely helped me have that balance. Fielding questions and responding to input directly with the users can bring goodwill, make me feel better for helping, and all that good stuff. The hero effect, if you will. It's important to feel that, it's part of the motivating factor that keeps people like us interested in doing what we're doing. But it is a dangerous double-edged sword, or perhaps a silent assassin, if left unchecked. Save your strength for the things that truly only you can do. Everything else can and should be taken care of by other people. [/quote]

    Ah I should learn this more. My colouring in blue. I'm not good at that.

    Thank you.
    fury likes this.

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