One of the first things I can offer you is this:  Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I get people often mentioning small contests that they end up spending way too much time on.  One particular one is a Pepsi contest where most of the prizes are a cheap plastic water bottle, or if you’re really lucky, you might win a crappy white Pepsi hat that nobody will likely ever wear.

Put your contesting time into a little better prizes.  My time is worth more than winning something I’ll never use.