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.


11 Responses to \

  1. Hell, yeah, I’d order groceries online if I could! I absolutely HATE grocery shopping. I also consider time with the family important, reading, and nurturing my other creative pursuits also very high ROT.

    Congrats on finishing your WIP!

  2. I’d say ROT is definitely the right term. lol High ROTs for me (besides writing) include reading, critiquing other writers, and most definitely time with family. Cleaning ranks fairly low most of the time (as long as nothing’s growing in the corners, I’m okay with it.) And grocery shopping! Definitely low. I’d order on line, too.

  3. I doubt I’ll ever order my groceries on line. I need to SEE what I’m getting (I don’t normally clothes shop on line, either). And I never shop at Meijer. I think their prices are too high.

    As for ROT… Probably reading. I learn a lot from reading. Especially a bad book. Sad, but true!

  4. I do social media in small doses and try to limit it to my phone at work so I’m not on it so much. What’s starting to eat my time is training for the Flying Pig. I have health reasons for wanting to run a marathon, but today’s run took hours, not helped by the slow-moving train on Reading Road. After I run the Pig, no more marathons. The half marathon takes much less time, time I need on Sundays to write and market.

  5. buy a lotta of stuff online but groceries only in emergency I must see the food before I buy it – read ingredients etc – high ROT (lovely description that:) no particular order -reading, family time, anything creative including the garden.
    Low ROT – def housework.
    can limit networking to just half an hour every other day. keeps me up to date on new folk, new blogs, new ideas.

  6. That’s a great way to look at time investment. Some things are simply time sucks with absolutely no reward back; like empty calories (can you say pasta)tastes good but what benefit is it bringing? (I love me some good pasta.)

    I think I’m going to spend some time evaluating my activities for ROT. Thanks for bringing this up.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  7. I admire you Jennette for taking the time to access your time! Truly family time comes first and that includes the husband. I think sometimes that can be overlooked because the kids are gone and we both become busy with our own stuff and yet, “we” need to spend time together. ROT time well spent. The other stuff? Well, I do like to spend some time on FB. Although I have pulled back on that recently. Blog titles? As you know I like to steal from song titles. lol. I have to watch that I don’t do that too often. But sometimes it’s fun. Keep up the great ROT girl. You’re always an inspiration. ((Hugs))

  8. Erin, I totally agree!

    Lynn, same – and it’s great to see you back!

    TS, that sounds like a good idea.

    Stacy, the higher prices are worth it to me to not have to go to Walmart. And +1 for reading!

    Alberta, housework definitely is low ROT for me.

    Patricia, thanks!

    Karen, nothing wrong with song titles – after all, they can’t be copyrighted. Too bad they don’t usually fit my blog. And thanks!

  9. I do order groceries online, for the same reason you do. I hate it when I’m looking for a new item and can’t find it and can’t find an employee to help me find it, so shopping online saves me tons of time. Can’t do that with fresh veggies, though. I like to pick those out in person, but that doesn’t take much time. Hubby likes to shop for food, so that’s a big help, too!

    Yay for you finishing your WIP! Woo hoo, Jennette! You go, girl!

  10. Pingback: Depth in Fiction: Why I (almost) Put the Book Down | Jennette Marie Powell

  11. I used to like grocery shopping. I’m trying to think why I liked it. Maybe because it was when my kids were little and it was part of a day’s outing. I don’t know. Now it’s just another chore–and one I’ve become unorganized about. Our new house is just a 5 minute walk from a grocery store, so I’m always thinking I don’t need a list bc I can just run out and get something. Usually I do without whatever I forgot. Haha. Would definitely consider a delivery!
    And yay for a finished draft!