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Last Updated on October 3, 2018

Are We Spending Too Little Time on Too Many People?

Are We Spending Too Little Time on Too Many People?

Who have you interacted with in the last 24 hours? Coworkers, best friends, family, or facebook friends? Chances are, the people you have spent the majority of your time with are not highly important to you, but rather general acquaintances. Meanwhile, those who matter most to you didn’t have much quality time with you.

Technology is amazing because it allows us to keep up with people we would have otherwise lost track of. However, for the same reason, we interact with people very differently than we used to.

In the past, we wouldn’t connect to so many people

In the past, we interacted with people we could see all the time – our real friends, our family members, and certainly our coworkers. If we wanted to see someone outside of those groups, we had to call them to hear their voice, or physically meet up with them somewhere. And when we did choose to meet up with someone, we were very present during our encounter.

When you were making time for other people, you valued the time with them more and could spend quality time with them.

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If there were people who, as time went by, didn’t really make time for real connections, they would naturally work their way out of your life. It’s natural for relationships to appear and disappear throughout time. If we were to carry people as we moved on our lives, we would naturally let go some of them along the way. It’d look like this:

    Today, connecting with people is almost too easy

    Facebook, emails and text messages allow us to connect with others instantly, even if they are in different countries. And not just one person – group texts allow us to touch base with numerous friends, simultaneously. If you don’t reach out to people via text, all it takes is a quick look at their Facebook status to know what they are doing.

    Yet quick connections tend to be shallow. Think about this, how many of your facebook “friends” have you met in person more than one time? Even though you have no true connection with that person, you know everything about them! That knowledge is meaningless because you aren’t truly connected.

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    As you walk forward in your life, you’ll have more of these shallow connections. While at the time it can feel good, like you’re popular and wanted, they will only hold you back from truly connecting with those in your life who matter. Instead of naturally letting go of some people along your way, you’re carrying way too many of them which becomes a burden to you.

      Connect deeper, not more

      Quality is definitely more important than quantity when it comes to relationships. More connections can really mean more meaningless people taking away valuable time. The key is to make each connection count.

      In the past, 80% of time was spent on people who matter to us. Now we spend that percentage on social media “friends” and text messages.

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        Filter out who is important to you and who is a hindrance

        It may seem cruel to have to categorize and filter your friends, but it’s harsher for you to spend time on people who aren’t that important to you. I talked about the concept of friendship decluttering in my other article: The Harsh but Honest Truth About Friendship Decluttering. Here’s how it works:

        Go through your virtual friends and make a color-coded list. Red should label those people who are bad connections, and even selfish people in real life. Assign this label to the ones who guilt you into time with them. Sort the rest of your “friends” into blue labels (semi-shallow but with potential) and green (the real friends you care about). Get rid of all the red relationships and focus on developing more green.

        Go back to this list again in a few weeks and see if any relationships are still distracting or should be in the red category. If so, delete those people. While it may seem harsh and you may fear they will notice and be upset, the truth is that you have to do what’s best for you and those connections you truly care to cultivate.

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        If someone were to reach out to you, asking why they no longer see your post, be honest: tell them you needed to focus more on your immediate family and friends in order to be the best you possible. Check out this article about how this can make you connect with your true friends: I Deleted 564 Friends On Facebook But I Have Saved 100 Real Life Friendships

        The right people deserve your time

        If you related to what was mentioned in this article, click off and start sorting through your relationships right now. Get rid of relationships you are spending a ton of time of simply because it’s easy. Choose to make more time, and put more effort into, the important connections. You owe it to them and to yourself.

        Featured photo credit: Erik Lucatero via unsplash.com

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        Anna Chui

        Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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        Last Updated on March 14, 2019

        7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

        7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

        Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

        For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

        Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

        1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

        A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

        It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

        It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

        How it helps you:

        If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

        Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

        2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

        Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

        Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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        How it helps you:

        Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

        Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

        If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

        Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

        3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

        Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

        Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

        How it helps you:

        This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

        For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

        Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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        A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

        4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

        To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

        A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

        How it helps you:

        One word: hierarchy.

        All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

        In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

        If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

        5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

        Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

        Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

        How it helps you:

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        Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

        If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

        This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

        6. What do you like about working here?

        This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

        Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

        How it helps you:

        You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

        Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

        Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

        7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

        What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

        As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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        How it helps you:

        What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

        First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

        Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

        Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

        Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

        Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

        Making Your Interview Work for You

        Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

        Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

        More Resources About Job Interviews

        Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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