“There’s not enough time in the day!” Don’t you love this excuse? It’s indisputable. Everyone has the same problem. The busier we get, the more important we feel. How cool is that?
It is not cool if if keeps you from doing what’s important in your life, like connecting with new people to expand your business network.
Never forget that your To Do list is not the same as your priorities. Not all tasks as equally important. We have choices, not just excuses.
- Download this free MP3 audio chapterentitled Clear the Roadblocks: the things that get you in way, read by Kathy McAfee, author of Networking Ahead for Business (available in soft back cover or Kindle format).
- Prefer to read? Download this free pdf file featuring the five roadblocks you need to clear for more effective networking.
Here are four ideas to help you re-prioritize your time and to make more time for business networking:
- Time block. This strategy is a real winner for busy professionals. All you have to do is to make a calendar date with yourself – the same time every day or each week. Literally create a calendar event called “Networking time” on your calendar and protect it with your life. Don’t allow other meetings or would-be emergencies take over your time for networking. It is of great value to your future. Honor it.
- Never eat alone. Food is ideal for creating a connective environment for people. Make it a habit of leaving your desk and being amongst other people when you eat lunch during the business day. Breakfast and dinners are also great times to network with other people. Not convinced? Read Keith Ferrazzi’s book Never Eat Alone. See how powerful it can work!
- Withdraw from your Facebook addiction. According to Matt Carmichael of Ad Age Americans spent 53 billion minutes on Facebook in March 2011. That is equivalent to 100,000 years on Facebook just in one month. The average Facebook user spends 5.8 hours on the site per month. And while many may claim that they are networking and keeping up with important relationships, if you look at the content posted (mostly photos), you have to admit, it’s idle chatter. Reclaim your 5.8 hours per month or more and reallocate it to advancing your business network. Meet with people in person!
- Kill your television or move your TV to the least comfortable room in the house. Don’t waste your precious time with mindless entertainment. You could be doing so many other things – like talking with your children, exercising, reading…and Yes, networking. Check out a few of these scary statistics from from the TV Turnoff Network.
- Number of hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
- Number of hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500 hours
- Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66%
Your Networking Goal for this week:
Carve out 50 minutes to network with people in person this week. That’s right, 50 minutes or 3,000 seconds – face to face networking, and not on social media or texting.
Don’t have the time? Let’s do the math on this. Fifty minutes is equal to 3,000 seconds, which is only one half a percent of the total number of seconds that are gifted to you each week. Did you know you get 86,400 seconds per day or 604,800 seconds per week to enjoy life? If that were money, you’d be rich!
Please don’t give me any of those “people are on summer vacation” excuses. Summer is the perfect time to expand your professional network. Why? Because people are generally more relaxed, the weather is better and you have more choices about where and how you get together. The key is to get together. You can create the time by making networking a priority in your work life.
At the end of this week which accomplishment will make you feel better? 1) Answering 50 more emails; 2) spending 50 more minutes on Facebook; or 3) spending 50 quality minutes of time and conversation with an important new person in your business network? The choice is yours…the time is there.