The smart phone and social media technology explosion was supposed to make our lives easier and allow us to be more efficient. It was supposed to make it easier to stay in contact with others.
That is true to a degree, but the unintended consequence is that we are overloaded with too much information from our contacts. As a result, many people consistently lose messages, or fail to respond to important communication from friends, family, and business associates – posing a real problem in business.
Instead, you can pick one or two communication channels that you prefer and direct all your associates to that channel. Make it a point to return all messages or calls in a timely fashion consistently. Don’t leave the office every day without making sure you have responded to every pending message.
There is nothing that will kill your reputation quicker than being unresponsive to an inquiry. This is true of your friends as well as business associates. Respond to people quickly – even if the response is no more than “Got your message and I am working on it.”
Facebook, twitter, texting, internet surfing, and emailing jokes to your friends are all fine to do in your spare time, but they will get in the way of meeting your goals. Even carrying your cell phone everywhere and giving out the number to all your friends will get in the way of success in business. Focus on work that leads to paying clients. (Note: I recommend NOT giving out your cell phone to clients, but instead making them call your office so your staff can try to help them. But that is another discussion.)
For friends and family, block out time to handle those inquiries as well, and treat them with equal importance as business messages.
Cell phones lead to a steady stream of content that can overwhelm your work day and your life if you let it. When you put boundaries on your time, it becomes easier to meet your goals. It takes discipline to be able to build the type of business you’ll be proud of. Make sure that you set your agenda on a daily basis, and don’t let this firehose of content do it for you.