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5 Ways To Network Like A Pro Even Though You Have A Busy Schedule

5 Ways To Network Like A Pro Even Though You Have A Busy Schedule

A lot of us have extremely busy schedules, with a million things to do and not enough time to do. It’s really unfortunate when a busy day isn’t as productive as it can be because of other people not respecting your valuable time, but thankfully there are some ways to get around others’ unprofessionalism. Here are five ways to network like a pro.

1. Associate With The Kinds Of People Who Won’t Waste Your Time

Value people who respect your time as much as you respect your time. Surround yourself with co-workers who are as timely as you are and understand the demands of a busy schedule. Too many are quick to idle around and slow to actually do the work. You need to weed those people out. To network like a pro actually network with true professionals who understand the importance of not wasting time and truly want to get things done.

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2. Schedule The Meetings

Don’t leave the time of the meeting up to chance except in very irregular circumstances. People need to hear that the meeting is definitively at 3pm, because if the time is more up in the air a lot of your co-workers will only start ambling in at half past three. That’s a half hour you just lost because of poor scheduling. Network like a pro by nailing down a specific date and time for all of your meetings, or you’ll regret it later. You can schedule by making a phone call or two, sending a personal card to everyone you want to come to your meeting or digitally through email or a LinkedIn group.

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3. Never Eat Alone

You may like quiet time in the middle of the day, but you should be aware that the lunch hour can be a great chance to get extra work done. Schedule work lunches with other professionals so that you can get some quality networking time in with them. If it’s someone you’re working on a project with, you can hash out details and coordinate schedules with them. If it’s someone in your department, you can discuss collaborating in the future. If it’s someone in another department you can discuss how to increase synergy between their’s and yours. It can even be a lunch with your office custodian or someone similar so you can show them some rare appreciation. The opportunities are endless, making lunch an opportune time to network like a pro.

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4. Host A Video Conference

It’s a lot easier to get people in front of their computer cameras at a designated hour than it is to get all of them into a room at the same time. Utilize web tools like Skype and Google Hangout to communicate with people who are as far as a continent away or even with people who are as close as a 5 minute’s drive away. For both groups, a video conference is the most convenient option. Communicating through services such as Skype or Google Hangout is a vital way to network like a pro.

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5. Give Positive Feedback And Ideas

To be efficient you need to provide truly valuable feedback, not something you thought of five minutes before the meeting started. Spend a reasonable amount of time thinking about suggestions or ideas you’ll present at the meeting. It helps to create a document or slideshow presentation, even if you have no plans to actually present either of those at your conference. Hopefully, if you consistently offer strong ideas and good feedback at your meetings, others will offer you the same courtesy. The less stupid questions or half-baked ideas in the meeting, the less time everyone wastes. To network like a pro be sure to prepare thoroughly for your meetings.

Featured photo credit: Cydcor Offices via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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