Time, of course, doesn't stand still and never did, and it's
no wonder at all that in this highly pressurized modern
world of ours, time is regarded as a valuable commodity or
Articles, books and courses on Time Management abound online
and off. What is interesting is that the higher a person is
positioned in a business or professional hierarchy, the more
he or she is perceived as standing to benefit from a
thorough knowledge of time management principles.
You can argue where editors and writers of email
publications fit - or should fit - in the economic or social
pecking order, but one thing's beyond dispute: they have as
great a need, and maybe more so, to organize their time as
any other class of people.
A major reason for this is the ominous scepter always
hovering over the heads of all publishers: that dreaded
The shorter the interval between issues, the more immediate
the threat, and the greater the sense of panic. On the other
hand, the danger may be greater when a deadline stills seems
a long way off, since one may be lulled into a false sense
Creating or compiling a top-notch newsletter may be tough
enough when this is your only responsibility, but when your
publication is a one-man show, and you have to promote it as
well, run your advertising department and all the rest of
it, time management takes on extra meaning.
And when your newsletter is only one cog (albeit a very
important one) in the chain of your business, the whole
concept becomes a critical one. Sooner or later, you come to
the inevitable conclusion that if you fail to master time,
time will master you.
Practice, persistence and experience are vital keywords in
personal time management, and everyone has to find what
works best for them. We can only offer a few assorted tips
and guidelines from the newsletter publishing perspective. Always keep to the publication deadlines that you have set
and announced. If you find that the schedule you have
imposed upon yourself turns out to be too ambitious, change
it and let your readers know.
Sometimes, if people find your content particularly
interesting and they're only too happy when it arrives at
last, they won't complain when delivery is late or
irregular. But even among your satisfied subscribers, there
may be some who have got into a ritual of reading your
newsletter over their morning tea, or whatever. These folk
will start grumbling even if an issue arrives an hour later
than usual. When they do, you can take it as a compliment! A beautiful little story that has been going the rounds
over the last year or two illustrates our next point.
A professor was giving a pep talk about managing time to his
class, and produced an empty bottle, which he filled with
heavy stones. Then he filled the remaining little spaces
with sand and water. His students thought he was trying to
teach them that you can always pack in something more into
"No," said the professor. "That's not the lesson. What I'm
trying to get across to you is that if you don't start your
day with the most difficult (or most important) tasks, you
won't get around to them at all."
How this applies to you as a publisher, I'll leave to your
imagination. You know your own working conditions, goals and
shortcomings. Make a permanent template with your nameplate, masthead,
subscription instructions and all other standing elements of
your newsletter. Immediately after you have finished with
one issue, open a new file in your word processor or text
editor, and paste or insert your template into it. (Don't
forget to change the date, issue number and anything else
that needs to be changed.
As soon as you think of something you would like to include
in the next issue, type it up right away on your new file.
Paste any news items there as soon as you receive them, as
well as any ads that come in from third parties. Open new
files as required for material that comes in for issues
further down the line.The editorial staff of conventional print newspapers and
magazines have always depended heavily on good filing
systems to aid them in carrying out their duties
efficiently. Putting together an issue is so much easier
when you have a whole storehouse of facts, figures, research
papers and ideas on tap.
But your collection of material is only as good as its
accessibility. You must be able to find things quickly when
you need them. Even the smallest publishers can't rely
entirely on their memories.
In our digital world, however, this should hardly be a
problem. It's just a matter of organizing our computer
files, and thank goodness, we don't have the space problems
that plagued some of our predecessors in years gone by!
Azriel Winnett is creator of Hodu.com - Your Communication Skills Portal. This popular free website helps you improve your communication and relationship skills in your business or professional life, in the family unit and on the social scene. New articles added almost daily.