Once Upon a Time

This post was gently contributed by Radar Masukami as part of Vint Falken’s SL Bloggers Mix’n Match Link project. Thanks to Radar for the excellent article, and to Vint for launching this idea 🙂 — Gwyn

Well, here we are in the exciting first SLbloggers Mix’n Match, and I’m stumped. I know I’m supposed to write about SOMETHING, but what was it?? Something management… something management.  Doh!! Oh, well… screw it, I’ll just write a little story and hope no one notices. Let’s see here…
Once upon a time… time… TIME!!! Once upon a TIME!! That’s it! I’m supposed to write about time management in SL!  That may immediately raise a couple questions in your mind, one is why time management, and the second may well be “why are you so qualified, you silly Radarvatar, to lecture me on time management?”  Good questions, both. I think I’ll try to manage my writing time such that I address the first so thoroughly that I run out of space and time to address the second question.  You see, it’s not so much that I’m an expert on time management as it is that I know what it’s like to have a laundry list of things to get done a mile long, and very little time to do them in.  And that’s really the answer to the first question – that in fact Second Life IS a second aspect of our lives, and we all have actual human, atomic person, meat puppet realities which take up most of our time and priorities.
Before I start making up a lot of really neat sounding lies about time management techniques and skills, please ponder for a second what it is that you intend to use your time in SL for. In other words, what do you value the most? Is your goal in life to become a master scripter or builder, to create amazing machinima that wrenches the prim hearts of all who watch, or do you just really think it’s hilarious to run around naked with a newbie penis stuck to your head at welcome areas? Being honest with yourself about what’s most important to you saves a little time in figuring out how to save time. Or something like that.

So here we go!

1. No obligations.  As in, don’t let yourself be constantly beholden to them. I don’t mean don’t make commitments to get things done for or with others, and I don’t mean do not take on tasks that have to be done by a specific time. But I do mean your essential state of being within SL should be one of being able to come and go as needed, without worrying about people’s expectations. This may mean a lot of people management and priority emphasis on RL vs SL with those you do have obligations to in SL. But I can’t emphasize enough, the happiest SL’ers I know are the ones that come in when they have something they need done or simply have a few spare minutes, and they leave when they’re done or something comes up in RL. No explaining, no having to be in at any specific time as a rule. The most stressed and unhappiest people I know in SL are the ones that aren’t having fun because it’s work and they feel obligated to this, that, and the other. And they’re being pulled between RL and SL and it hurts. If you’re doing that to yourself, stop, drop, and roll, and ask yourself some serious questions about why you want to live that way.

2.  When you do come in, don’t be afraid to say “No,” or “I’m busy,” or “I just popped in to do task x and then I gotta go” or let people know “hey, my kid’s smearing peanut butter on the walls, this has to wait until another time,” and then log out right then. Sometimes we get into SL so much that we forget that not everyone has several hours in a row of uninterrupted computer time, or that they just have other things they need to do. So help others understand that fact, and you’ll waste a lot less time chatting about things in OC or IM that waste your time and keep you from getting anything done. Again, Second Life is second, and when time is limited, don’t let people waste it. Say No. Or say “Poof.”  Whatever you gotta do.

3.  Go with your flow. Most interesting people have more things to do than time to do them. I don’t know how many people I know who tell me they have several unfinished projects on their plate, and I’m no different.  So just accept that you can’t do them all at once, and that to stay interested and refreshed, you might need to pause on one for a bit and work on another one. This will help avoid burnout, keep you interested and hopefully learning, and give you a variety of things to blog about. And isn’t that why you’re in SL? To blog? Ok, maybe not, but it won’t hurt your blogging if you have variety.

4.  Get downtime. I mean take time off, have a day or week or whatever when you don’t log in. That hardly sounds like good time management, it sounds more like a recipe for not getting things done. But in fact it IS valuable in time management, because without a refreshed, rested, interested, and peaceful mindset, you are going to be fighting your body and soul as you struggle on about your tasks in SL, and it’s going to make it a lot harder to get things done, and done right. Time off reminds you that you’re in SL by choice. Assuming you have a RL job, chances are you spend all day doing what others want you to do already, right? Why on earth would you then come home and put yourself into that same type of situation voluntarily for several more hours?  That’s a fast track to “what the hell am I doing?” territory.

There you go. My deepest secrets, revealed for your amazement and wonder. Keep your SL fun, voluntary, and productive!

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