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How To Make The Most Of Your Time Online

Aug 17, 2007
I know a lot of people spend time networking online in the many networking sites like Ecademy, Ryze and Xing (was OpenBC). Perhaps you'd like to spend less time or just be more organised in the way that you do it.

Manage your time online in the same way that you manage any other area of your business or social life.

What is your reason for networking online? Limit the amount of time you spend there. I know it can be hard and it's easy to get distracted but it's the only way to avoid wasting too much time.

Think about why you use online networking. Set yourself goals for your time online. Post xx blogs, connect with xx new members, connect with xx people in my network etc.

How much contribution do you make of the Clubs you are a member of? Some you might check every day, some you may only need to check once/twice a week.

If possible, change the Club Notification Settings to a level appropriate for each club, Daily, Digest, Immediate or None (Admin only). For the Clubs you're more interested in, set the notification to 'immediate', then create an email filter to an Ecademy folder where it's easier to check in one go. For those clubs you contribute less to, set them to Daily.

Check the list of Clubs you're a member of regularly and leave those you no longer use or that have become less active.

Notification Settings
Set your Email Notification Settings to notify you for Private Messages (PM) so that you can quickly see new PMs. You can also get options to notify you of Newsletters, Comments, Testimonials etc. Again, think about how much added email you need/want.

Limit yourself to 15-30 minutes on each site to read and comment on blogs, to connect with people, posting and reading. Spread the time over the week and set aside your 15-30 minute chunks once a day. Allocate set times to do any regular club postings - once a week. Once or twice a month, take time to connect with new members - particularly those in your area - geographically or for business.

Handling Posts
I often spend time at the beginning of the day reading and responding to emails. Responding to personal messages is a priority, responding to blogs is a lower priority and only gets done when I have time. I then get on with the important stuff and might come back to it later in the day - often in the evening when I have free time to read, respond and connect. I also set aside time during the week to post articles

This is an efficient way to avoid repetitive work. Create a template of standard paragraphs you might use over and over again, e.g. to welcome new members, or contact members in your local area. Save time by cutting and pasting but don't over do this and make sure you personalise the message by referencing something you've read in their profile or a comment they've made. Cookie cutter messages that are obvious, standard and impersonal don't go down well.

Take A Break
There's nothing wrong with taking a break from your other work to check what's going on in the blogs in your online network. For those that work from home, it can be the equivalent of the 'water-cooler' conversation.

How important is online networking to your business? What else 'should' you be doing when you're spending time online? Just make sure when you get to the end of the day you've achieved what you set out to do and didn't while away your time online.
About the Author
Clare writes on several topics to help busy, stressed individuals and small business owners organise their lives more effectively.

Receive free weekly Time Tips to show you how to manage your time more effectively when you register for her monthly newsletter at www.clareevans.co.uk.
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