Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #113 / Choosing between an impromptu visit and your to-do list

Choosing between an impromptu visit and your to-do list

I was searching through my blog archives last week and came across something I wrote seven years ago that really stuck with me.

It’s about what to do with impromptu visits.

Those “hey, I’m in town today, want to grab some lunch” type of unexpected invitations.

For me, they usually come from family members.

And I’m a planner. I like to have appointments on my schedule at least a week in advance and my tasks for the week outlined before Monday morning.

When I get an impromptu visit or lunch request, it can feel like someone took a large cartoonish wrench and threw it into my well planned and thought out week.

Do I want to spend time with them? YES!

AND I want to get the things I had planned for the week done too.

The problem is if I always say no last-minute requests of my time, I might not have an opportunity to see that person again for a few months.

I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons having my own business was appealing was that I could occasionally enjoy these impromptu visits.

So, if I say no to these visits, am I honoring my schedule and plans or am I being too tied to them?

Here’s what we forget about our to-do lists, schedules, and plans sometimes: they are there to help you and work for you. You do not work for them.

It sounds a little weird to say it like that, but sometimes in our quest to get as much done as we can each day, we forget that there are other things to do.

Life doesn’t always fit in nice little compartments and since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you really don’t want it too. You want a life with flexibility.

This doesn’t mean it’s always easy to put aside my plans for the week and have brunch with family instead. I have things! that must be done! And if I start my day late, those things! Might not get done! (does anyone else’s brain work like this? Or is it just me?)

This is when it’s helpful for me to take a breath and realize that if there are no appointments scheduled, then the things! can be done later.

When I have impromptu visits and my mind is ping-ponging between GO have fun and STAY to complete the things! I ask myself these questions:

  • Are there any appointments or meetings that this will overlap or interfere with?
  • Are there any deadlines approaching that will be negatively impacted?
  • Have I already spent time this week with unplanned visits?
  • How will this impact progress on my goals?

The gist of these questions is: will my business or goals be negatively affected by spending time elsewhere?

If so, is spending this time with this person more important than my business and/or goals?

Notice that I wrote “is spending this time with” and not “is spending time with.” That one little word changes the meaning of the sentence a bit.

Again, your schedule and to-do list are meant to help guide you and make your day flow smoothly.

They are not a ball and chain that keep you tied to your office or computer.

If you’re treating them like that, step back, get curious and ask yourself why.

Leave a comment letting me know when was the last time you said yes to an impromptu visit.

And if your schedule and to-do list feel like a ball and chain or if it feels impossible to say yes to an impromptu visit, then reach out and let’s talk. The easiest way to do that is to leave a comment or fill out the Contact Me form here.


What “To Do” When Networking


So far we’ve covered:

  1. The three questions to ask before you network
  2. How to find places to network
  3. How to make time in your schedule to go networking

And, as the title suggests, this week we’re covering the do’s of networking. In the first draft this was the “to do’s” and “not to do’s”. However, it ended up being an almost 1,500 word article, so I’ve broken it into two pieces. The “do not’s” are next week’s article.

Before I go into the “do’s” I want to take a moment to remind you that you don’t have to have everything figured out before you start. Yes, you want to be intentional when you network and do some preparation, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.

The person out there doing things imperfectly is always making more progress (and money) than the person sitting at home waiting for things to be perfect.

The Do’s

Bring business cards
Have something with your contact information on it. Minimally it should include your name and email address. Ideally, it also includes a phone number and your website (although don’t let not having a website stop you!)

Talk to people you don’t know
Yes, I know this one might seem a bit obvious, but I felt it had to be said. Why? Because it’s really easy to start talking with someone you know and stay in that comfortable conversation instead of starting a new conversation with someone you don’t know. I have to remind myself of this every once in a while.

Prepare a 30 second introduction
Sometimes this is called a commercial. It’s really just a nice way to introduce yourself to a person or group.

Not sure how to do this? Here’s a script:
Hi I’m {name here} from {company here}. I work with {ideal client} to help them {benefit you bring your client} and {another benefit}. {Your name} with {company name}.

Be prepared to talk beyond 30 seconds
Not sure what to say? Talk a little bit about how you help or serve people. This doesn’t necessarily mean you tell them all about the different products / services you offer, but you might tell them about a happy customer – Jane started out this way and after using my products / services she had these results. Or you could mention what sets you apart from others in your field. Those are just a couple ideas to get you started.

And why come prepared with this? Two reasons: (1) some networking groups give you 2-3 minutes to talk about yourself (don’t feel obligated to use all the time if you don’t need it) and (2) when you’re talking with individuals (instead of the whole group at once) – you’ll be able to tell them more about what you do without getting flustered or tongue tied.

Ask for other people’s business cards
People are busy! If you want to connect with them after the event or meeting, then you need to take the initiative and call or email them. And if they don’t have one, have them write their information on the back of one of yours (be sure you don’t pass that one out!) or on a piece of paper.

Set appointments
This is probably the first one that has you scratching your head a bit. Set appointments? What does that mean? Remember how you did the work earlier on knowing your ideal client and referral partners? This is where having that information comes into play, yet again.

  • Referral Partner
    If you meet someone who is a potential referral partner, then set up a coffee or lunch meeting or even schedule a phone call to find out more about them and their business. If possible, do this at the networking event. If that’s not possible, put a star or fold the corner of their card to indicate that you want to follow up with them later.
  • Ideal Client
    If you meet someone who is your ideal client than you’ll also want to set up an appointment with them. However, it’s slightly different than talking with a referral partner.
    Ideal clients tend to fall into two categories: those who know they want to work with you and those that might not realize that they want to work with you.

    • Those who know they want to work with you
      They’re easy to identify because they tell you something like “Ohh! I could sooo use that right now!” or “Wow, I’d love to learn more about that for my business.”
      So, set an appointment with them so you can tell them more about what you do and find out if you’re a good fit to work together.
    • Those that might not realize that they want to work with you
      These are the people who are your ideal client, but haven’t expressed an interest. You’re not actually going to set an appointment with them. However, you are going to note that you want to call them within a couple days to see if your service / product might be helpful for them.

Anything additional that’s on your “Do” list when you’re networking? Share in the comments below!

Anything additional that’s on your “Do” list when you’re networking? Click HERE to share!

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