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To Surf or Not To Surf?

I have recently attended a workshop where I was also the guest speaker. While listening to the fabulous presenter before me, I could not help but notice several participants surfing the Internet. To my surprise, they were visiting various social networking sites such as LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter. Although this article is not intended to serve as my commentary on such networking sites, it does serve to question the effectiveness and results you gain in your life and business when surfing the web has become a meaningless and unplanned activity.

Having access to the Internet most anytime and anywhere has its tremendous advantages. Many outstanding websites, including hopefully our own, are important in helping us harness the power of the web to help us improve and increase our knowledge, research various topics, provide value to others, stay in touch with clients, friends and colleagues and even enjoy ourselves at times. However, recognizing that there is a time, place and purpose for surfing the Net is an important distinctive ability to acquire.

In my workshops and consulting work, I have the opportunity to help and instruct some of the world’s leading consultants so that they can maximize and leverage their web presence and their own productivity. My good friend, Dr. Alan Weiss, beautifully articulated in his article What Price Glory? Or: Can We Get Some Air In Here? how easy it is to waste our time on insignificant activities relating to the web rather than focus our efforts on activities that would yield tremendous results and success. What I find amazing is how many surf the Net pointlessly while wasting their precious time yet wondering why aren’t they happier and successful.

If I had my way of influencing Shakespeare’s theater titles today I may have proposed to modify the famous “To be or not to be?” to “To surf or not to surf? That is the question.” These may initially seem like unrelated questions; however, the link is not only in the syntax itself, which composes the sentence (or rather question) structure, but also that of people’s mindset. First, I believe that their overwhelming desire to gratuitously surf the Internet at inappropriate times is presumably driven by their existence of being inextricably tied to social media connections. Second, I think that this activity runs no risk of rejection compared to that of a client, which many are terrified of. And third is the possibility that they have no time management discipline in their lives.

Perhaps this Shakespeare’s analogy takes a humorous angle, although there is little humor when people uselessly and futilely choose to surf the Net and social websites. Here is a checklist I’ve created that may be of help before you next surf the Net:

  • Is this the best productive activity you should engage in right now?
  • Should you do something else and better?
  • Are you increasing your knowledge?
  • Are you researching an important topic?
  • Are you contributing value to others?
  • Are you strengthening your brand?
  • Are you improving your image and reputation?
  • Are you increasing your business, clients and revenues?
  • Are you having fun?

Your time is your most previous asset. Once gone you can never retrieve it. I make no judgment how you decide to spend your own time. But if you find yourself in a situation where you are dubious whether to surf or not chances are you already know the answer.

May you have successful and safe surfing.

© Chad Barr 2009 All rights reserved.

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