Even though summer is in full swing, I find that nothing is slowing down and I have more on my plate now than ever, especially with the new book coming out in November. Many of my friends seem equally busy in their businesses.
Finding the time to network with an already packed schedule is always tough. So what to do? Here are 5 things I’ve tried lately that have helped me in a crunch:
Turn off Facebook and Twitter. It’s okay. Really. They’ll still be there when you log in tomorrow or the next day. Resisting the urge to update your status every 20 seconds or respond ASAP to non-urgent messages will allow you to stay focused on a single task.
Free your mind. Have an email or phone call to return from weeks ago? It happens. Rather than let the guilt continue to fester in your mind and take up mental bandwidth, take 60 seconds right now to do it, apologizing for the delay in responding, of course. You'll feel better immediately.
Batch your activities. Traveling back and forth all over the world the last 7 weeks made for some great new episodes for my Passport to Networking video series, but it also forced me to consolidate my networking meetings into a limited number of days when I was back in New York. I’ve continued this practice of dedicating a single day every other week or so for these types of meetings. When the day fills up, no more meetings until the next available day.
Make room on your plate. You can look elsewhere to find more networking time if you really need it. If a task has been sitting on your to-do list for weeks and no small children or animals have been harmed by your not completing it, scratch it off your list or get someone else to do it.
Give your toxic friends the heave-ho. Any of your Facebook friends cluttering up your news feeds or inbox with irrelevant group messages and stupid application invitations? If you have a vested interest in the friendship, you can send a polite message to request that they stop. If you don’t, simply unfriend them. When I started to do this, it was so liberating. You can read about my breakup with the lazy networker here.
More activity doesn’t always mean better results. Sometimes we need to get to a breaking point before we realize that we can’t, and shouldn’t, do it all. This is a great time to evaluate what’s really important and make whatever adjustments you need to get back to a good networking equilibrium.