The Internet appears to be creating two kinds of people – those who spend almost every waking hour doing something online and those who treat the web as a mere functional repository, doing just what they need and nothing else. The problem is that all the evidence shows that businesses where people spend almost every minute of the day doing something online are the companies which are succeeding and making most money. There appears to be a clear relationship between the amount of activity you do online and the amount of money your company brings in.
In fact, studies show that the more you do, the higher your profits. In other words, you need to write several blog posts each day, as well as keep Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn open so you can keep chatting to people. Then, of course, you need to be sure to update your Pinterest boards as well as answer a few questions on Quora before contributing a guest blog to another website. Oh – and then there is your business to run too.
One of the biggest problems people have these days is finding the time to do all of the online things you “have to” do on top of doing all the normal day-to-day business activities. Just how can you fit it all in?
Time management gurus will tell you to have some goals, of course. True enough, setting your objectives for your social media activity is fundamental, yet you would be surprised at the number of people who do not do it. Once you have some goals in place, managing your time becomes much easier.
However, what time management gurus do not tell you is that all of this online stuff you need to do is ADDITIONAL to everything else. Not only do you need to blog, update LinkedIn, chat away on Twitter and write guest posts, you also need to do everything else you did before that. Yet in spite of all this additional work you really need to do, no time management guru has managed yet to find a day with 36 hours in it or a week that has 9 days. You have more to do, but still the same amount of time available to you.
At this point all the time management experts point out the problem is no different to the situation before the arrival of the Internet – you simply need to prioritise. But therein lies the problem, all the research on web success shows that online activity is a number one priority. Fail to blog regularly, avoid building online relationships and miss out on spreading your brand around the web and you soon lose out to the competition. Web activity is essential. But so is earning a living. Nowadays there are too many competing tasks for that “top priority spot” in your agenda.
However, new research has found a solution – and it is counter-intuitive. Here’s what you do – you “give away” your time. Instead for working on something for you, or your business, you spend time free of charge working for someone else. You do something for another individual.
Now, that might seem like a waste of time. After all, why on earth would you spend your time doing stuff for other people when you could be busy working on your own priorities? The research found it is because of our perception of time. When we give freely of our time to other people we feel as though we have more time to ourselves. Giving away your time makes you feel positive about time itself.
The reason we feel rushed, that there isn’t much time to do all the online activities we need is because there is always so much to do generally. But at the heart of that issue is how we feel about time. When we feel more positive about time, we can actually do more with it. The research suggests that if we spend time doing stuff for other people we feel as though there are more hours in the day and so we get on and do more.
Of course, it doesn’t mean you should not follow the advice from time management experts – it’s just that their suggestions are more likely to work if you add a bit of altruism to your daily schedule.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+