Limiting your time
Credit: Morgue photo by vicky53

At one point, I was writing several articles a day. Then, my production fell off a cliff.

For some reason, I was getting next to nothing done. That's because I had discovered Pinterest, and I was spending far too much time pinning and organizing my growing number of boards.

Pinterest came into existence in 2010. It has become wildly popular, especially among middle-aged women, such as myself. We've started using it as a visual search engine, for anything from recipes, organizational ideas, health tips, travel advice and much more. At last count, in July of 2013, there were 70 million registered users. So, there must be many more by now.

If you are an online writer, Pinterest is invaluable when it comes to promoting your articles. This platform is a major source of traffic for my main blog called Female Bullies.

The readers who arrive from Pinterest are also kind of enough to share a link to my site on Facebook and on other social media outlets. But Pinterest is driving the bulk of this activity.

It's very easy to get hooked on this site, as evidenced by the number of users who refer to themselves as "pinoholics." I'm trying hard not to become one of them. Some days, it's easier than others.

Pinterest is fun to use, and, if you want people to read your online efforts, it's practically become a necessity. Twitter will give you a burst of traffic and Facebook will send you a lot of readers for a day or two. But Pinterest keeps them coming, because even old pins can be passed around, seemingly indefinitely.

So, the site is extremely beneficial for writers, as long as we don't spend the bulk of our waking hours pinning. So, how do we prevent wasting our precious time there?

Avoid excessive pinning
Credit: Morguefile photo by earl53

Timing is Everything

I've burned many hours on Pinterest, all for naught. That's because I chose the wrong time of the day to post visual links to my articles. This is a site primarily geared toward women, or at least those are the demographics in the United States, where the vast majority of users are female. Most adult women are busy during the day. So your pins are less likely to get picked up and shared if you put them up during business hours.

Stay-at-home mothers are also heavy pinners. But not during the lunch hour. This is when they are feeding their children. Mid afternoon is another time they're unlikely to be on the computer. If post a pin when they are picking up their children from school, it won't get much attention.

There is a small window of opportunity between about 4-4:30 pm, when children are home from school. But this quickly closes as dinner preparations get underway.

One good time to pin, I've found, is early in the morning, between about 6-7:30 am, when people are sipping their morning coffee and browsing various boards. But the very best time is in the evening. This is when most people have finished dinner and now have a little time to relax. You'll find this is when your pins are most likely to be viewed and re-pinned.

This cycle of pinning can last for hours. Apparently, the site keeps people awake, because most of my views seem to come late at night.

So, if you want to maximize your time and effort, pinning as the sun sets seems to make the most sense.

Now, so I can get other things done, I limit the bulk of my pinning time to the evening.

Saturday mornings are another good time. This is when people seem to have a little time to spend on their computers, before running errands and shuttling their children to soccer practice.

Avoiding Pinterest Addiction

I also try to limit my overall time spent on Pinterest, as it can easily eat up a couple of hours before you realize how much time has passed. If I stick to pinning at night, for an hour or two after dinner, this problem takes care of itself.

Now, the daylight hours are reserved for writing, just as they were before I discovered this site. I might add a few pins throughout the day, but I don't overdo it, since I realize this isn't an efficient use of my energy.

For me, however, Pinterest is not just about promoting my online articles. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the other pinners. Sunday is my day of rest. This is when I don't publish anything or promote my own articles. It's when I get to enjoy all of the pins that showcase great recipes, cute animals or places I'd someday like to visit.

But I still try to steer clear of the "pinoholic" club. One of the funniest pins I've ever seen warned new users to "leave Now!'s far too late for us, but save yourselves."