Time Management in Dog Years (Podcast 426)

by | Jun 18, 2014 | Musings, Podcast | 21 comments

This week we talk about the idea of creating an introduction video for your web site and services, as well as some thoughts on time management mistakes that I sometimes make. Also, some exciting news about a new education platform called The Arcanum, which I’ve just joined as a Master.

OK, so a few various thoughts and updates this week, though the main theme today is thoughts surrounding a time management mistake that often make, and which lead to this week’s episode being a couple of days late. First of all, I guess I should start with some background, so that this all makes sense.

I Joined The Arcanum!

If you are a member of our Google Plus community, a few days ago you might have noticed a discussion about me joining The Arcanum as a Master. The Arcanum is a new education platform created by Trey Ratcliff, and Trey calls it a Magical Academy for the Mastery of the Arts.

I just finished fast-tracking through the training process, and have started to send out the invites to people to join my cohort, and can’t wait to get started. If you haven’t heard of The Arcanum yet, go and check it out at thearcanum.com, and if you’d like to join my cohort, it may be too late by the time you read/hear this episode, but drop me a line anyway. I’ll check out your profile and see if you’d be a match as I add future apprentices.

Anyway, in preparation for becoming a Master, I had to create a Meet Martin Bailey video to add to the Grand Library, and as I’m always trying to find ways to maximum my investment in time on projects that I undertake, I figured, you know, if I’m going to do an introduction video, I could reuse the bulk of the video to add a short introduction to the About page on my Web site.

The Advice of a Friend

If I recall, I think it was Frederick Van Johnson, my friend from the TWiP Podcast, that had mentioned in the past how effective a marketing tool having a video on your About page can be, and I’ve been meaning to create one ever since, so this seemed like a good time to kill two birds with one stone.

I got all the preparation done on Sunday, and recorded the video first thing on Monday morning, including an alternative ending. The first told viewers what they could learn from me in The Arcanum, and the second ran people through where to go on my site to see the Podcast episodes, buy fine art prints or check out my Tours & Workshops etc.

I used a simple teleprompter application from the Apple App Store to gradually scroll the script that I’d written in large characters, on a computer display as close to the camera as I could get it and still be able to read the scrip. I rolled down my black background in my studio and set up a camera to record.

A Pretty Good Marketing Tool

This all went OK, although I couldn’t avoid looking to the side of the camera at the teleprompter as I read my script, but the video was shot and ready to edit relatively quickly. My plan was to edit two copies of the video in the morning, then create this Podcast episode in the afternoon, to tell you about what I’d done, as I was thinking that this is a good marketing tool, whether you own a business, or are simply trying to get the word out about your own photography. It helps to engage with your visitor on a higher level than simply having them read text. You can see the video already on the About page.

About MBP Video Screenshot

About MBP Video Screenshot

I embedded a number of images to show the sort of work I do, as this needs to be kind of an advertisement, not only for what people would learn from me in The Arcanum but also to show new visitors to my Web site what I was all about. I selected my images in Lightroom as I edited the video in Adobe Premiere Pro, and added animation and transitions, and in a relatively short time I had my Meet Martin Bailey video ready.

Apart from this being a relatively good marketing tool, I intended to talk about it this week, from the perspective of maximizing our time investment, by creating two videos for the price of one as it were. But then, things went a bit wrong, and I have another lesson to talk about. I knew this would happen, but decided to go with it anyway.

Time Management Gone Wrong!

You might recall me mentioning that I’d been studying Apple’s digital music software Logic Pro on Lynda.com, and although this is only a hobby, I’ve invested a number of hours in both learning the software, and also as a hobby learning to play the piano, still pretty poorly I should add. I had this tune in my head that I keep playing when I’m trying out new instrument sounds in Logic, and I needed some background music for my video. You know what’s coming, right?

Yep, I thought it would be a good idea to finally create a track that I could use as background music for my video. It’s also the music that played us in today, so if you’re wondering why it’s so crap, you now know. 🙂

Really, I knew this was going to be a time sucker, but I decided to go for it. I told myself that if I couldn’t get something knocked out in a couple of hours, I’d give in and use some stock music. But, you probably know me better than that as well. Once I’d invested a couple of hours in this, I was close enough to having something half decent, and too far into it to give in. This is a dangerous place to be from a time management perspective.

I’d got deadlines, albeit self imposed, in that I try to release the Podcast on Mondays. This means that I have to flick the switch by Tuesday morning here in Japan for people in the US to see it on Monday evening. Generally, I like to get this out by the end of my Monday. That went out of the window pretty quickly.

I was to talk with The Arcanum Team on my Tuesday morning to get started with my cohort, and had promised to have my intro video done by then. That went out of the window too. But I was close to having something I could use… I probably sunk around 16 hours into that track by the time I’d mixed it and had at least something that I could use for the video BGM.

Computer Time = Dog Years

Granted, if these deadlines had been set in stone, I’d have probably not even tried to create the music, but I have to admit that I have a tendency to underestimate computer task time. I think we probably all do. It’s like we work in dog years. They say that there are seven dog years to our one. That means that my 16 hours in reality, was not far off my estimated my optimistic estimate to bang out some music was about two to three hours.

It’s much easier to estimate computer time for tasks that we are accustomed to performing. I know for example that it takes me roughly half a day to prepare my books to visit our accountant and if I have been on tour and have a backlog of receipts and invoices to enter into Excel it might take me a bit longer. I know that it takes me most of Monday to create and release a Podcast “most” weeks.

Learn to be a Time Pessimist

Remember a few weeks ago when I changed the theme on our Web site, and I struggled with it for a number of days? I’ve changed WordPress themes a number of times and I know it’s a big job, but I am always overly optimistic, hoping that this time will be different. I really didn’t have time to make that change recently, due to other commitments, and it caused me to give up some valuable family time, which I paid for dearly later.

I remember last year, I’d been really good at getting the preparation for my Namibia trip done, with plenty of time to spare. I think it was the Saturday night, as I settled to spend some valuable time with my wife before leaving her alone for almost three weeks, and I must of gotten a little bored or something, because the thought crossed my mind to see if there were any cool themes out there that I might use. After spending some time looking around, despite my better judgment, I bought a new theme and started to switch.

Because I didn’t have that much time on my hands, I didn’t set up a local server to test the new theme, I decided to just install it and switch, to see how it looked. It actually wasn’t that bad, but once you start to change options, it can take longer to restore your site to the old theme than to plow forwards and finish the job. Needless to say, I spent the whole of Saturday night working on the switch, and much of Sunday getting things looking as good as I could in the time that I didn’t have. Also needless to say, I was in the dog-house, which I guess was quite appropriate because I’d been working in dog-years.

The Moral of the Story

None of us have much time on our hands, and making time for hobbies and photography and work and family is always a juggling act, with trade-offs to be made and prioritization to be done between the various tasks that we have on our plates and family time. I’m generally quite good at managing my time, and think I get a lot done with the time I have, but this is still one area where I just don’t seem to learn.

Thinking about it though, there’s a connection between my mess up this week, and the pre-Namibia theme switch, and most other similar mistakes that I’ve made. I tend to make these mistakes more when I have a little time on my hands. Last week I handed off some future Craft & Vision PHOTOGRAPH magazine articles, and completed a large print order for a customer, and although I always have a full task list, I had a bit of flexibility, which is why I decided to indulge my music hobby.

There’s another negative side-effect to doing work in this way though, and that is that although I didn’t have much pressure on me time-wise, I really didn’t have enough time to make as good a job of the music or the video as I’d like. I had just enough free time to try, but not really enough to hit it out of the park, and that narks me.

Either way, I’ve realized that when I’m running at full speed, I make less time management mistakes. It’s only when I slow down a little that I start to falter. I probably work at my most efficient when I’m under pressure. We probably all do. Where that pressure comes from probably makes the difference between feeling that pressure as negative force or a healthy driving force. Right now, I set my own goals, and do work that I love. Because I love the work, I want to do as much of it as I can, and so although I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed, it’s not a negative influence. It really just keeps driving me forward, albeit with a few hiccups here and there.

A Change is in Order

My main problem is that I find it hard to just sit and relax. There’s a personally trait name for this, I’m sure, but I have to be doing something all the time, and that’s why I feel uncomfortable with little pockets of free time that I really should spend my wife more often. I’d promised to take a day off this week and go to a movie or to the local park, but that went out of the window with my little music project too. I put too much stress on her, and I need to change that.

I’ve seen the signs a number of times, and know when I’m making this mistake. From now on, I’m going to try really hard to resist the temptation to fill every bit of free time that I make with jobs that don’t necessarily need to be done, at least not right now. I hopefully will be able to stay married longer if I do this, and you wouldn’t have to wait an extra few days for the Podcast, or be played out by corny seventies synthesizer songs. Hey, it’s in my DNA, OK?

See you next week. 🙂

Show Notes

Check out The Arcanum: http://thearcanum.com

Music by Martin Bailey 🙂


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  1. Stew

    Time management in dog years….this is so true. I get side tracked all too frequently turning a small project into more of a comedy of errors.and wasted time.

    • Martin Bailey

      For sure… 🙂

      I am generally pretty good, but these times when I have a bit of free time seem to be deadly!

  2. Steven James Martin

    Nice episode Martin. I’d love to be my own boss, and daydream about doing something like what you have managed. However , I guess the downside of this is that it’s very difficult to ‘switch off’ from your work – even when you know you should!

    That’s the main benefit of a 9-5 I guess – when the work day is over, you (hopefully) don’t have to think about work anymore the minute you’re out the door!

    • Martin Bailey

      Oh yes. I went six weeks recently until I realized that I hadn’t had a single day off. My wife is an angle, but I have to get better at taking time off, if not for myself, but for her. Just a day or so here and there should make all the difference for us both. The 9-5 was great for disconnecting. I could turn it off like a switch. My boss used to be envious. Now I’m working harder than I ever have, but the cool thing is that I love it! Dangerous place to be. 🙂

    • Steven James Martin

      Dangerous but good place to be 🙂 There’s always going to be pros and cons, and often the grass is always greener, but it sounds like you’re doing great!

    • Martin Bailey

      Absolutely. I wouldn’t change a thing, except for trying to be a better husband. 🙂

  3. Thysje

    The Arcanum? I’ve just looked through the site. Totally fascinating! Another string to your bow mentoring others! Another thing to spend more time on though… 🙂

    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks Thysje! I’ve done individual consolation sessions, but I’ve never been able to come up with a mentoring model that would work, despite being asked quite often. The Arcanum provides the mechanism in a very cool environment, so I’m looking forward to it.

  4. Larry Clay

    Welcome to the Arcanum Martin. I am an apprentice in the Arcanum. My master is Ron Clifford. Good job on your intro video. I am looking forward to watching your critiques of your cohort and any videos you put up in the Grand Library.

    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks Larry! That’s cool that you’re already working with Ron. He’s really rockin’ it as far as I can see. 🙂

  5. Jordan Palfrey

    I know where you are coming from when talking about time off. There’s always something you could be doing!

    I find putting an hour aside everyday to exercise helps a lot, I do mine just before lunch. And if taking a day off is too much, take a morning off. I find books and an Xbox helps 🙂

    • Martin Bailey

      I actually took the afternoon off on Friday and went to see the World Press Photo 14 exhibition with my wife, so I’m doing better. 🙂

  6. Teacher Leo

    Many thanks and congratulations on another great podcast Martin. I’m so happy I just started my Google+ account and shared some of my first shots taken with my cell…phone (sorry about that) on your community (I fear what the feedback will be like though) =) https://plus.google.com/communities/101105265892822137171/stream/a71fed14-c34b-4fea-bfeb-1b4a5fc7c0cf
    I’m delighted to be part of it now and will work hard to be worthy of everyone’s attention
    I hope you’re all doing great.

    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks Leo!

      I just checked out your post on G+. You have a good eye. I’m looking forward to seeing more as you grow.

  7. Shane

    Another great podcast Martin. I was only thinking this last weekend how I should be doing something more constructive rather than chasing the “shiny things”. For me, I just try to keep one thought in the back of my mind. “Do it NOW!”. Not later. Not when I’ve done this. Just do it now. It doesn’t get everything done, but it gets a lot of things done that previously fell through the cracks.

    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks Shane!

      You know, I’m mostly with you on the “Dot it NOW!” thing. I tend to do most things that are relatively manageable in reasonable chunks of time as soon as I can. I also follow the Eat That Frog style of doing the jobs that I least want to do first, to avoid procrastinating and putting these jobs off until tomorrow.

      The problem is, most of the jobs I have to do now are more like fried chicken than bitter ugly frogs, and it’s impossible to get them all done right now. Many large tasks have to be planned for certain blocks of time, or continuous chunks of time over many days, weeks or even months sometimes. As much as I’d love to do this kind of job right away, it would stop me doing other jobs that also simply cannot be put off.

      In general though, I’m with you, and work like that quite a lot. 🙂


  8. Torben Kühle

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now, great to hear that you joined the arcanum. I am registered as an apprentice there, feel free to have a look at my google+ account if you are interested.
    Your nature pictures from Japan are an inspiration. I am going to travel to Japan this autumn and look forward to see this fascinating country (will be my first time there)

    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks Torben!

      I’ll be sure to check your Arcanum profile. Have a great time here in Japan. You’ll love it!

  9. Leo

    I’m appreciative of your work more than I can tell! Any chance to still join you cohort?

    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks Leo!

      I don’t have any free spaces at the moment, but if one frees up, I’ll be sure to check out your profile.

    • Leo

      Thanks for replying so soon. Not a day goes by without me checking your website/listening to your podcasts.
      Cheers man


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