Don't Be a Clock Blocker: Time Management for Adult Creators
Blog Post Written By: Melrose Michaels
As adult creators, managing your time effectively is crucial to achieving your goals, creating quality content, and growing your audience. Time is a limited resource, and the more you can make the most of it, the more successful you'll be. This blog is all about ways to manage your time more effectively so that you feel confident in your day-to-day workload, more organized, and less overwhelmed.
Before I dive too deep into how we can manage our time as adult creators effectively, I want to discuss a concept called time confetti. Time confetti is a term used to describe the scattered and fragmented moments of time that occur throughout the day, often as a result of modern life's many distractions and interruptions. Unlike larger blocks of uninterrupted time, time confetti is made up of small, often unpredictable chunks of time that are difficult to use productively.
The term was coined by Brigid Schulte in her book, "Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time." Schulte argues that time confetti has become increasingly prevalent in modern life, as people are bombarded with emails, notifications, and other distractions that disrupt their focus and ability to concentrate.
Examples of time confetti might include:
Checking email or social media during short breaks throughout the day
Answering a phone call or responding to a text message while working on a project
Trying to multitask by working on multiple projects at the same time
Dealing with unexpected interruptions, such as a coworker stopping by your desk to chat (obviously that’s not as applicable to us as adult creators but it demonstrates the concept)
The problem with time confetti is that it can make it difficult to focus on important tasks and can lead to a sense of overwhelm and stress. It can also make it harder to find time for activities that are important for well-being, such as exercise, socializing, or self-care.
The first step in knowing where you’re creating time confetti in your day is to track it effectively. When I first committed to finding ways to optimize my time, I downloaded a time-tracking application called Webworktracker. They have a 14-day free trial plan with a Google Chrome extension that allows you to ‘clock in’ and label each task you're spending time on. This will start to give you an accurate idea of how long things take you generally per the task you’re working on, as well as draw your awareness to when you’re getting distracted. Once you’ve tracked your time for about 10 days consistently, you’ll have a pretty good picture of how long tasks take you. That is definitely the first step in optimizing your workload.
The second is to notice where and when you fall off task. Is it when your phone goes off? When someone in your household interrupts you? Identifying these will show you what things in your workday create time confetti for you. Knowing that will help you understand how to prevent creating time confetti going forward.
Now let’s talk about practical ideas on how to manage the time you have more effectively manage the time you do have.
Set Clear Goals and Priorities
In this blog post, I'll be using adult content creation as an example, since it's something that most of us can relate to. However, before diving into the task of creating content, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your objectives and to identify the most critical tasks. With so many things competing for your attention and time, it's not enough to simply create a to-do list. You need to prioritize your tasks and focus your energy on those that will have the biggest impact on your business. This means approaching your daily tasks with sniper-like precision rather than a shotgun-like scatter. To do this effectively, you need to break down your goals into smaller, achievable tasks and prioritize them based on their potential to contribute to your overall success. Although the idea of using a gun analogy may be uncomfortable for some, the key takeaway is to be intentional and strategic with your energy and time.
The first thing to do is to determine the objectives for your content. Is the objective to increase engagement, grow your audience, or generate new subscribers? Create SMART goals for these objectives and prioritize them based on your desired outcomes.
A SMART goal (smart is an acronym) is a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goal.
To be Specific means the goal should be clear and well-defined. It should answer the questions of what you want to accomplish, why it is important, who is involved, and where it will take place. Most creators do not take the time to examine their goals in this much detail. If your goal is to create content for example, you should be able to outline that goal specifically by defining, what kind of content you’re filming, what you’ll be wearing in it, why you need to film it today, who (if anyone) is needed to assist you and where the content will take place. Defining your goal specifically highlights the other potential decisions or planning that will be necessary to know when attempting to complete this task. I personally believe because as creators our to-do list usually only says ‘create content’ we often procrastinate and blank out when it’s actually time to film. But if you’re well-defined and intentionally specific on this task you will have an easier time approaching it and completing it.
To be Measurable means the goal should have quantifiable or observable criteria for measuring progress and success. This will help you determine whether you are on track or need to make adjustments to achieve your goal. If you are like me, when creating content I have a handful of things that accompany that main explicit video. I shoot a photo set, a sexting set, an Onlyfans story clip, a trailer, and then the main explicit video. For myself, I can measure the progress of accomplishing this goal because out of the 5 parts of my content creation process, I can measure them as I complete them. So if my photoset is complete, I’m ⅕ of the way done with this task (or 20% finished). Once I complete my sexting set, I’m ⅖ complete with this task (or 40% finished). That is what it means to set measurable goals.
To be Achievable means the goal should be realistic and attainable, taking into account your current resources, abilities, and constraints. It should stretch you just enough to be challenging but not so much that it becomes impossible. If I’m speaking candidly this is the part I have the hardest time with. As humans, we tend to overestimate what we can do in a given amount of time. That is why having the ‘A’ in your SMART goal is so important. Stopping to ask yourself if what you’re setting out to do goal-wise is realistic or achievable within your circumstance for that day. I used to film 5 full shows in a single day when I was batch-filming content. In fact, there was a time when I was filming 7 shows in a single day! That was sustainable for me and my situation then, but it certainly wouldn’t be now 3 companies later. The only way to take that into account is to assess whether your goal is actionable to not when dissecting it.
To be Relevant means the goal should be aligned with your values, needs, and priorities. It should be meaningful and worthwhile to you, as well as contribute to your personal or professional growth. Content creation as a task is obviously relevant to your career and business, but how often do you stop to think about how it’s driving the direction of your career? Do you want to win awards for a certain content category at XBIZ? Maybe you should be focusing on putting out more of that specific type of content. There was a time when I was dating my ex-girlfriend (who is also in the industry) that I really wanted to work towards winning girl girl, or lesbian clip artist categories. That was probably 50% of the content we were putting out at that time. However, that relationship ended, I launched other businesses and my goals changed. Keep in mind that as life happens, and your businesses grow, it’s okay for your priorities to evolve and change as well. Just understand and be intentional with what your goals are at the time so that you’re taking steps aligned with achieving them.
To be Time-bound means the goal should have a deadline or timeframe for completion. This will help you stay focused and motivated, as well as create a sense of urgency and accountability. Again in using the content creation task, I typically give myself about 1-1.5 hours to film content, and about 30min to 1hr to edit it. That means my entire content production time from start to finish is time bound to 2.5 hours total. Knowing this helps me stay focused and on task. I’m not going to sit around in lingerie and scroll Instagram when I should be filming if I know I only have 2.5 hours to produce the content on my to-do list today.
This is why, overall, setting a SMART goal is a powerful tool for achieving goals. By keeping the goal specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, you essentially create a support system around it that increases the likelihood of achieving it. This is why the SMART goal system is key when ‘setting clear goals & priorities’ in general.
Plan and Schedule
Developing an editorial calendar that outlines your content creation and publishing schedule is crucial in this process. I know I’ve mentioned before that I use a task management program called Asana, which incorporates a calendar function on it - which is what I use to plan my content for the month. However, you could use Google calendar for this just as easily and have it be entirely free. In fact, if you have a Google calendar, on the right side you can open up ‘tasks’ (it looks like a blue checkmark in a circle) and you can keep a to-do list right there alongside your content calendar. Allocate time for brainstorming, research, writing, editing, and promotion.
To continue using the content creation example, during your brainstorming phase, I suggest you use the ‘TOTALS’ system created by Tilly Toy and featured in this Sex Work CEO course. It stands for Type, Outfit, Toy, Angle, Location & Storyline. You can use this guide when planning out any content during the brainstorming phase so that you know when you show up ‘on set’, to your cam room, or filming location, you already know every aspect of the scene you’re about to film. It takes out all the guesswork, which is often the only factor that actually keeps you from filming content to begin with. Now, all you have to do is show up and film.
In regards to planning and scheduling content, I suggest outlining how and where you want to implement your content for your fans and abide by that formula. Of course, make sure you are testing and improving the formula over time. For example, I have an outline I follow when scheduling & publishing content to my Onlyfans feed that looks like this:
Send a good morning mass msg at 6 am that gets unsent 24hrs later
SFW pic on the feed with CTA (Call To Action) at 10 am
NSFW pic on the feed with CTA at 1 pm
Vertical video clip on OF story at 3 pm
SFW Video trailer at 5 pm
NSFW full-length explicit video on feed at 6 pm
Knowing what your publishing schedule will be can ensure you’re creating the right content to support it and help you schedule it quicker and more effectively.
If you’re at a point in your career where you have the resources to hire your first personal assistant or virtual assistant, a lot of this planning and publishing process can be delegated to others, but in order to do that, you’ll need to know how to delegate effectively.
To effectively manage your time as your business grows, it is essential to delegate tasks. As an adult creator, you may be wondering when it's the right time to hire your first assistant or VA. Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it depends on a variety of factors unique to your business. To provide you with the best advice, I would need to thoroughly analyze your business, taking into consideration your income and expenses. However, as a general rule, I recommend considering hiring your first team member when you have about $5k left over after paying for both your business and living expenses.
If you work with a team, delegate tasks such as scheduling, editing, graphic design, social media management, engagement, or other administrative tasks to qualified individuals. This allows you to focus on your core competencies as a content creator. As the bottom line of content creation, is that will be the thing you can never outsource to someone else.
If you’re maybe not in a place to hire and delegate out tasks, that’s okay. You can still manage your business on your own by breaking down your tasks into smaller chunks.
Break tasks into smaller chunks
Breaking down the content creation process into smaller, manageable tasks can be highly beneficial. Consider dividing it into several stages, including researching, outlining, drafting, editing, and publishing. This approach can help you maintain focus and track progress more easily, allowing you to stay on track and achieve your goals efficiently.
If you're already using the SMART goal system to set and define your tasks and the TOTALS system to outline your filming process, you're already ahead of the game. While these systems may seem daunting at first, taking just 10 minutes to plan and define your goals can save you a significant amount of time in the long run. By doing so, you'll avoid aimlessly wandering through the content creation process and instead achieve your desired outcome with greater ease and efficiency.
Minimizing distractions is another effective way to save time. Nowadays, most smartphones and computers offer the "do not disturb" feature, which can be used to silence notifications and prevent interruptions from disturbing your productivity. I personally have set up a schedule for my "do not disturb" settings, so when I wake up at 5 am, my phone automatically enters "focus mode." This means that none of my social media app notifications can get through, and only contacts on my favorites list can reach me via texting or calling.
In today's society, one of the biggest challenges to productivity is our ability to stay focused. We carry powerful supercomputers in our pockets, but often spend hours jumping between hundreds of different apps and websites. To improve focus and productivity, it's crucial to limit these distractions. Even when my phone is not in "focus mode," I don't allow social media apps to send notifications to my phone.
Just as we set boundaries with people in our real lives, it's important to set boundaries with the online world. Without these boundaries, we can easily become overwhelmed and unable to focus on the things that truly matter to us. By reducing distractions and creating clear boundaries, we can reclaim our time and energy, and focus on the things that truly bring us joy and fulfillment. Pro Tip: Consider designating a dedicated workspace and eliminating distractions, (like an office). Then limit unnecessary notifications, like background noise, or social media. Establish boundaries with people in your household to ensure uninterrupted work time. When I walk into my office in the morning I have a neon sign behind my desk that says my name MelRose Michaels on it. When I turn that neon sign on, it means I’m clocking into work. At the end of my work day, the sign get’s turned off, and I leave my office, which signals to me the end of my workday. When my office door is closed, people in my household know to not come in or interrupt me.
Another fundamental part of time management is time blocking. Time-blocking is a time management technique that involves dividing your day into blocks of time and assigning specific tasks or activities to each block. The idea is to schedule your day in advance and allocate time for your most important tasks so that you can stay focused, minimize distractions, and increase your productivity.
To use time-blocking, you start by identifying your most important tasks or activities for the day or week. Then, you create a schedule that allocates specific blocks of time to each task or activity, taking into account your natural energy levels, deadlines, and other commitments. For example, you might block off two hours in the morning for writing, one hour after lunch for social media engagement, and another two hours in the afternoon for research and planning.
Time-blocking can be done using a calendar or a planner, and it can be as detailed or flexible as you like. The key is to stick to your schedule as much as possible and to adjust it as needed based on your progress and changing priorities.
Implement Time Blocking
Schedule dedicated blocks of time for specific tasks such as admin work, content planning, filming, editing, social media promotion, and engagement. This method can help you stay focused and reduce the time spent switching between tasks. A great tool for time blocking again is Google calendar. I have my daytime blocked for the gym, getting into hair & makeup, admin work, content creation, a time block available for meetings I may need to take, a time block for live streaming on Twitch, etc. Every night before bed I check my Google calendar to see what is on it for the next day, and when I wake up my Google calendar time blocks guide everything I do, and when.
I want to stress that when you begin time blocking, there may be a period of trial and error to determine the most appropriate tasks to complete at specific times. For instance, I am most alert and productive upon waking up, so it feels natural for me to tackle administrative work early in the morning. I write my Twitter spaces at 6 am on Tuesdays because that's when my mind is sharpest and most imaginative. As a result, I block off time for activities that require concentration and innovation in the morning. I intentionally avoid scheduling creative work after 4 pm because my energy levels and creativity are typically at their lowest during that time. It is important to recognize your body's natural rhythms and when your mind is most productive throughout the day when creating your time block schedule. Otherwise, you may be hindering your productivity instead of enhancing it.
Utilize the Pomodoro Technique
If you’ve never heard of The Pomodoro Technique, it is a time management method that was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique is named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer (Pomodoro means tomato in Italian) that Cirillo used to time his work intervals.
The Pomodoro Technique involves breaking your workday into 25-minute work intervals, called "pomodoros," separated by short breaks. The basic steps of the technique are as follows:
Choose a task that you want to focus on and complete within one or more pomodoros (or 25 minute intervals).
Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on the chosen task until the timer goes off.
When the timer goes off, take a short break (5-10 minutes) to rest your mind and recharge. This can be watching a youtube video that’s entertaining, playing a video game, taking a walk, making a snack, etc.
Repeat the process, working on the task for another 25-minute pomodoro, followed by another short break. After every four pomodoros, take a longer break (15-30 minutes) to rest and recharge. For me, after 4 pomodoro’s I usually take a walk, and the added benefit of moving my body and getting the blood pumping naturally wakes me up and helps me come back to work energized & focused.
To boost your productivity and prevent burnout, try dividing your content creation tasks into 25-minute intervals with short breaks in between. You can use this technique to maintain focus and make the most of your time. During your breaks, you can switch to other tasks or aspects of your content creation process to break up the monotony. For example, if filming your content takes 1.5 hours, you can shoot photos for 25 minutes, take a 5-10 minute break, and then edit the photos before moving on to the next task on your content checklist. This approach can be particularly useful when you experience creative blocks, as it helps to refresh your mind and stimulate new ideas. Taking breaks can be a superpower that enhances your productivity and helps you achieve breakthroughs in your content creation. Remember to use your breaks intentionally to make the most of your time.
Regularly Review and Adjust
To ensure the best results for your content, utilize analytics tools to track its performance and assess your time management strategies. Modify your approach as necessary to improve your productivity and the effectiveness of your content. Essentially, if a certain type of content that you spent a significant amount of time and effort creating doesn't perform well with your audience, it's an indication that the return on investment (ROI) was not satisfactory. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions when creating future content, especially during the planning phases of your upcoming month's content calendar. Remember, you're in this business to generate revenue, not just to express your artistic talent.
In conclusion, when you apply these types of strategic time management principles, you automatically streamline your productivity for success. Without utilizing these tools, you’re essentially agreeing to drive blind in your business. Imagine getting hired by a corporate company, showing up for work, and having zero processes in place to follow. You’d have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing. The same goes for your own business. You need to give yourself structure so that you have a system that drives you toward success. Without one, you’re just guessing, wishing, and hoping, as opposed to zeroing in on a specific target, and attacking it with sniper-like accuracy.
If you enjoyed this blog, you'll really love the Twitter Space we did focusing on this topic, I think you'd really enjoy it! Want to be part of the conversation? Join us Tuesdays at 1 pm CST on Twitter where we discuss new topics weekly to help take your adult content creator business to the next level. Unable to make it live? No problem! You can listen to all our past Twitter Spaces here.