The second most common question I get at my talks is: "How do you find the time to do all this social media stuff?" People want to know how to find time to blog, tweet, produce videos, and create valuable online content.
I've found that: "Finding the time to participate in social media" is just like exercise – you need to make it an important part of your life. If it is important to you, you don't even think about it anymore. It just is.
You have a choice.
You can choose to exercise regularly in order to stay fit. The only effective way is when exercise becomes part of your routine. Some people like fitness clubs. Others enjoy running outdoors or dance or kickboxing. But in all cases, success comes from making it an important part of your life and routine.
I enjoy 45 minutes on an elliptical trainer every morning that I'm home. Sometimes the hotel I'm staying at has a machine and I jump on that too. Been at it for more than a decade.
I get up early, around 4:00 most mornings, and do my training in the family room while watching recordings of the late-night television shows from the evening before. I don't even think about "finding the time" because it is a very important part of my life.
Same with participating in social networks and creating online content - it becomes part of your life.
In my case, I do about 100 blog posts a year and maybe 30 videos. I comment on thousands of blogs. Most years I write a free ebook. And I'm on forums, chat rooms, Twitter, and Facebook.
Many people are surprised when I say that I probably spend about six hours a week on social media - about the same amount of time I spend exercising. I don't even think about it. It's important, so I do it. And I can't really say how I "fit it in". It's mainly in micro-bursts of one or five minutes throughout the day.
I recommend that you don't even try to "find the time to create content and participate in social media." You'll fail. Just like "finding the time to exercise" leads to failure and wasted money on health club memberships.
Instead, make exercise and social media important parts of your life.
If you still cannot fit exercise and social media into your life, cut out television completely. You will be amazed at how much time you free up.
UPDATE Jan 20, 2011 - Social Media Chad extended this riff on his blog. Check it out.