ROT – Return on Time

As a writer who has a full-time job, helps with a spouse’s business, and has limited energy, how I spend my time is of great importance. Actually, I don’t know any writer who has enough time to do all the things they need and want to do, regardless of employment, health, kids, or whatever. So I often find myself evaluating the ROI–Return on Investment–of a given activity, the “investment” being my time. So maybe ROT–Return on Time–is a better way to describe it.

This is a concern for many writers especially when it comes to time spent on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. What do we get for our time spent on social media, and is it worth it? If one considers them fun, then that should definitely be taken into consideration. I don’t enjoy them, so for me, they’re low ROT, and the answer is to spend very little time there. I do like reading blogs, so I spend more of my time with them.

Other activities where I need to consider ROT is the time it takes to come up with a clever blog title, as well as what to write about. I’m not very good at titles, so I honestly don’t spend a lot of time on them. I am skeptical that I’d get many more pageviews if I did spend a lot more time with them, and anyway, this blog doesn’t sell books, so… not a good ROT.

I received a flyer in the mail saying that Meijer now offers order-ahead pickup. Order online, then go pick it up at a drive-thru area a few hours later. We can get our first order free (the pickup fee, not the purchases) if we order by Feb. 13. After that, it’s $4.95.

The only time my grocery store is this deserted is like at 3 AM... or during the Superbowl.

The only time my grocery store is this deserted is like at 3 AM… or during the Superbowl.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a totally killer deal. There’s no maximum or minimum, and instead of spending an hour+ grocery shopping–a chore I hate–I can order online and pickup. Even if I had a household employee to do this (LOL–right?) their hourly wage would be much more! So with this, grocery shopping is something else where I can consider ROT–and it’s definitely worth more than $4.95. That goes double for a big grocery haul in preparation for a once-a-month-cooking day. My husband normally does the shopping, but those take him three hours. The fee would be worth it to him, too, because a marathon shopping session like that requires a stop at Starbuck’s–which is about the same amount!

We have had crazy warm weather here in Ohio the past couple of days, so last night, my husband had a fire out back. I took some time away from writing to go sit with him, and that was time well-spent. Time with our family has a high ROT.

So what did I do this week where I was thinking about time spent? Of course I did some reading, because that’s something I enjoy a lot, and writers need to read. So reading is almost always worth the ROT for me. (I say “almost” because there is the occasional book I don’t enjoy and end up setting aside.) I didn’t finish yet, so I’ll go over that next week.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I did meet my goals this week, and finished the first draft of my WIP! I got that last scene written, and went through and added a few things I knew were missing. So this week’s plan is to proofread and correct, and get it to the beta readers. A bonus would be anything I get done on the cover or book description.

What about you–for what activities do you consider ROT? Whether or not you’re a writer, what’s worth your time, and what isn’t? Would you consider ordering your groceries online and saving the time shopping? What’s the weather like where you live? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.