It’s 4:00 p.m. and I have worked a long day, starting my day getting the family and myself out the door and on time to our respective place, now I am running this child to soccer, and that child to baseball, picking up the dry cleaning , rushing home to get the kids started on their homework for school tomorrow, do a couple of loads of laundry, put the dog out, answer the phone and pack lunches for tomorrow, when suddenly I hear, from the far side of the house, over the TV, the following statement, “Honey what’s for dinner?” I stop in my tracks and think, “What is wrong with him, it’s like having one more child in the house.”
As a mom, wife and business owner, managing my time became extremely important. I was always seeking some sort of balance between the 3 areas of my life. Most of the time I felt like the Ring Master of a Three Ring Circus, with lots of clowns running around me out of control. I knew that networking was important for creating visibility for me and my business, but I also had commitments with the kids schools, PTA, with family members and my spouse. If I was going to a networking event I had to make sure family was cared for in my absence. If it was an evening meeting and I left the kids with Dad, I had to make sure that he had something ready to feed the kids, leave notes reminding them to get homework done and when I got home make sure that their breakfast was set out and lunch money on the table. Time permitting maybe a load of laundry before bed. It can be overwhelming and may cause many women to network less than their male counterparts.
Networking events take place everyday of the week, at many different hours, early morning meetings, lunch hour meetings and evening meetings. Finding the right time to make it all fit together can be a bit of a challenge. Here are some findings from the American Time use Survey about how men and women use their time, there are no shocking results and ladies, there is nothing here that you did not already know:
1. According to the survey, among full time workers men worked slightly longer than women an average of 8.2 hours versus 7.8 hours for women
2. Chores: On an average day, 20% of men did housework – such as cleaning or doing laundry, compared to 52% of women.
3. Meals: 37% of men did food prep or cleanup compared with 64% of women, indicating that men are more involved when it comes to eating. (Is anyone surprised here?)
Childcare: During an average weekday, women spent 1.2 hours providing physical care such a s bathing or feeding a child while men spent 23 minutes and on weekends women provided about an hour of physical care to household children while men spent about half an hour. (taken from: Battle of the Sexes www.mysalary.com )
The US Census Bureau in November 2009 states there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the US and nearly 84% of those are single moms and 16% are fathers. This group will find that they are in need of more flexibility when it comes to the time that they are able to commit to networking. Today more than ever women are starting businesses as a way of having flexibility for their lives and their families.
The very fact that we are so busy being the Ring Master for our personal circus, it is vitally important that we make the best use of the time we have dedicated to our networking and business activities. One thing that both men and women can do to help themselves is to develop good systems around their networking activities. Spending time going deep into the network that they already have instead of running around meeting more and more new people.
So let me challenge you here ladies, and gentlemen, before you put on your best dress, gather up your business cards and head out the door to meet more new people, stop, take some time and figure out who is already in your network. Then spend some time working on the network you have. Take those relationships deeper before adding more.