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Beyond the Meme: Time Vampires!

Time vampires. We all have them. Social media is a big one, which makes it ironic that I’m starting these discussions on social media. Time vampires can come at us from anywhere: a call from a family member, a chatty neighbor. Sometimes a simple hello can cost you an hour! It’s not always a negative thing... we all need to find that work/ life balance and allow ourselves time to be social. Friendly. Human.

But in the course of your day, how many other time vampires do you encounter? A back and forth on a social media post. A client that requires a lot of extra hand-holding. Getting sucked into someone else’s orbit with one eye on their text… and another on the time! Lengthy responses to emails that would be better off as a quick phone call. It's an endless list.

A great example for me that needed fixing a while back has to do with my evening consulting with voice actors. It got to where people would take up 30 minutes or more of my time for me to explain how a 15 minute evaluation works. Thankfully (and admittedly a year or so too late in lockdown) I was able to automate a lot of this through my website, making it much more efficient to direct folks to a menu where everything is explained. And yet there are still those who need additional hand holding. I remain patient and helpful, but in a creative world where we’re selling our time along with our talent, this can be difficult to navigate!

Are YOU a time vampire? Sometimes in the course of a text thread or emails, I have to recognize that I’ve gone off course or chatting too much. I’m learning.

One of the most frustrating time vampires came in the form of voice actors needing studio time as the world opened back up at the end of covid lockdown. As a courtesy to those stuck with too much noise effecting their home studio (construction was a big problem!!), we offered our facility at a discount. This worked out well for a number of folks! But there were a handful of voice actors that would reach out desperate for a studio. We’d move things around. Go back and forth. And then find out that they didn’t actually have the booking they were trying to schedule. What’s worse is that some actors decided reaching out to studios to give the illusion of being busy was a great marketing tool! Unfortunately, those folks eventually went on the DO NOT RESPOND list, because each and every time, they ended up being a fire drill for no reason.

Those of you that read my website emails know that lately I’ve had to cut back and be better about recognizing boundaries when it comes to dispensing advice and basically giving away my time for free. It’s flattering to be tagged in social media posts asking questions, and it’s nice to be needed when people reach out… but it’s simply not possible to respond all the time between my career and my family. One solution has been offering new, shorter help sessions for people that just have a couple of questions. Another way to be more efficient is my new Thursday night free/ pay what you like Zoom get togethers. That can be found under the EVENTS tab on the website. We had our first chat last week, and it was nice to catch up with some folks! I choose Zoom over places like Clubhouse because then I KNOW who is coming in. Because Clubhouse itself can be a time vampire!

So- what are YOURS? How do YOU cope with watching time slip away and drifting focus? Let me know in the comments!


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