Tagged: relationships

Have we over-glorified being busy?

I cringe every time someone says it; “I am very busy.”

It is said with the tone the suggest being busy equates with being important. Or being busy is equivalent to getting things done, having a purpose in life.

It is as though the world has taught us that if you are not busy, you are a slacker, a loser, moving around aimlessly.

What is wrong with you? Get busy. Do something with your life.

Stop. Please just stop.

I am raising two boys, still driving my oldest to destinations that require highway driving and transporting my youngest to his various rehearsals and gigs. I am helping with homework, keeping the house clean, walking the dog, grocery shopping, running an online marketing agency, selling, managing a team, invoicing, developing strategies, pitching, writing, reading, being a wife, going to my husband’s gigs, nurturing my friendships, networking,  and keeping up with all the changes that happen on social media while maintaining my own social presence. I am also on the board of two nonprofits and I keep up with paying our monthly bills.

Oh – I also play games on Facebook. I grew up playing games with my family, and now that we live in different states, Facebook allows us to continue to play games with each other.

I am not busy.

I have a life to maintain, but rarely will you hear me say the words “I am busy.” I do not need to apply that label to prove that I am accomplished or accomplishing.

I have priorities. Sometimes I will say I am not available at a set time, but that is not the same as I am too busy. That means let’s look at the schedule and see where something falls on the list of priorities and when I can get to it.

You are never too busy to do something or meet someone, it is just down on the list of priorities.

Also, you do not need to have every moment scheduled. Deadlines are important for most things, but when you actually do the activity should be when you are inspired to – obviously before the deadline. It is also vital to learn how you work and how long something will take you.

When I have to write a social media strategy for a client I suggest it will take 2 weeks. The first 10 days is me thinking about it, jotting down notes, doing research, and thinking some more while I do other activities. Then the last 2 days I sit down and write the report. It is thorough and thought out, but it did not fill every moment of my two weeks. Yet having the time to let information present itself and ideas to connect provides inspiring new concepts for effective strategies.

The more relaxed a person is the more creative they can be. Ideas can flow. But you cannot be relaxed if you are always busy.

Also, ideas and inspiration come from the oddest places. Today I sat down at Starbucks. My intent was to work on a campaign strategy that needs to be presented in 2 days. However, the gentleman next to me decided he wanted to chat. Was I too busy to chat? No. Who knows what wisdom this man would offer me. I will never see him again. So I felt I needed to push my work aside and listen to his stories. Within 30 minutes he was on his way and I was inspired to write this post. I still have plenty of the weekend to work on the strategy which will be written quickly once I finish collecting all the ideas that are around me.

If I was too busy to collect new ideas, all my ideas would be recycled and the value I offer would be diminished.

Let’s change how we view the idea of being busy.

If you are too busy you might be unorganized. If you are too busy you might be uninspired. If you are too busy you might be trying to fill in a void that needs to be addressed. If you are too busy you might have anxiety.

If you are too busy, you might be missing out on all that life has to offer.


Nurturing Your Network(s)

originally posted on Concept Hub

The most common question I hear in regards to social media is “how can a person manage all the social networks that they feel they need to be a part of?”

I have two answers. The first answer is technical. It has to do with the 2 things I call “the math equation you have to learn to go any further in Social Media; Syndication and Tagging.”

Syndication is how information is pushed or fed to another site. The most common example is subscribing to an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed which would be fed into an RSS reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines. This allows the subscriber to receive feeds from various sites into one place.

Most sites have RSS. Even Facebook status updates have an RSS feed. This means that you can pull all the information you want to keep up with into one place. Beyond that, there are sites such as Friendfeed.com and Plaxo Pulse which allows you to subscribe to all your “friends” various networks in one place.

Tags are how content is organized on the web. Many sites allow you to subscribe to updates from a specific tag or category. This enables the subscriber to filter just the type of information they want to subscribe to.

However, there is a lot more to consider than just how technology can assist in organizing all of your networks. Before you join a network – or ten and try to figure out how to organize it all, you need to know why you are in those networks in the first place. Who are you trying to connect with and why?

Recently I am getting lots of questions about Twitter. More and more people are joining Twitter, but they do not know why. They are asking me why should they be on Twitter, what value will they get from it? My standard answer, not just for Twitter, but for all social media tools, is it depends on what you want to get from Twitter. Once you know what you are trying to get from a tool or network, then you will know which tool or network will be the most effective, you will know who you want to connect with, and you will know how to get value from your relationships. For example, many PR people are finding Twitter a useful tool to stay in contact with the media. Many others use Twitter to stay connected with friends and family scattered throughout the country or world. Others use Twitter to stay up to date on the latest innovations and trends in their industry. But the reality is, most heavy Twitter users rely on Twitter for all of the above.

The thing about online social networks is they have become an extension of our offline social networks. If we stop and think about our offline relationships we can see how many relationships we have crossed many different networks. We may play a sport with someone we work with or someone in our spiritual center. Our kids may play with the son or daughter of someone that happens to be a client. Our old high school friend may have just landed a job at a company that is a hot prospect. The reality is our offline relationships have very few boundaries, so it is a curious thing to try to impose such boundaries within our online networks.

The other fascinating challenge of online social networks is trying to decide “what to say.” Back to the Twitter example, a network that allows you 140 characters to make your point. How can a relationship be nurtured in only 140 characters, and the question asked more often, why do I care about the random bite-sized thoughts and activities of others?

In our offline worlds, we all have many different personas that we exhibit at various points during the day. We are all multi-dimensional and that is what makes us so captivating. The bite-sized information feeds keeps the conversations going, allowing people in your network to see the various sides of your personality, to find the areas where there are common interests, and to respond, in their own bite-sized information, to you. So, it is important that your online persona is just as multi-faceted and personalized as your offline persona.

But who will care? Again, this goes back to why are you there? You can be on LinkedIn and Plaxo for business, but it will still be OK to have a few friends and family connect with you there as well. You can be on Facebook re-connecting with old friends and stay connected with new friends, but it is perfectly fine to have a few clients connected to you there as well. Imagine how you can strengthen the bond you have with your clients as you learn the little details about them such as their hobbies, interests, favorite music, and so forth. Twitter is much more interesting when you are following your friends but can also keep you ahead of the curve when you need to follow trends or to know where the right place is at the right time.

Finally, no one should feel obligated to stay connected to each network all of the time. You do need to learn what you can do in each community and you do need to spend some time nurturing your networks, but once you have established your presence, you can step away if needed. Recently I confessed to a peer that I am rarely on Twitter anymore. When I need it, I know how to leverage it but right now I do not need to be on Twitter. I explained that just like we do not carry a hammer around with us all of the time, we only have a hammer when we need to use it, we do not need to keep up with every network online.  However, the trick is knowing the right tool or network to be in at the right time in the right way and with the right relationships.