In my Remember the Milk account, my lists generally correspond to the greater goals I have for my life. (I borrowed that concept from Life Balance, actually.) I just changed the name of a list in Remember the Milk from "Reach Out" to "Develop Relationships." Functionally, the tasks that go into the list are basically unchanged, but I think this renaming appeals to me because it reflects a significant shift in my thinking over the past months, which is two-fold:
- The nature of the company I started this year lends itself to meeting a lot of people, all the time. (It's a web marketing agency, and the billable work is done almost entirely by freelance and independent talent so that we can fit the right people to the tasks. So I'm always recruiting.) I naturally meet a lot of people that [meta]marketer doesn't have any current work for, but I have been paying attention to when I can make introductions between people who might be able to help each other. So I'm interested in developing relationships between other people. So some of the tasks that go into this list read like "send email introducing so-and-so to so-and-so."
- My social networks are growing, and I'm less interested in having a vast collection of people around me that I have no connection to than I am in having at least SOME connection with most of them and always deepening the connections with as many as possible. So I'm interested in developing relationships between myself and others. Some of the tasks that go into this list, then, are things like "Follow up with so-and-so from the mixer the other night."
I also have a daily recurring task that reminds me to check Facebook for birthdays. I really enjoy wishing people a happy birthday, and it means that I can count on at least one interaction with most of the people in my network (some don't list their birthdays) every year. That may not sound like much, but that one birthday wish has often led to messages back and forth catching up a bit and getting to know people I may have only gone to school with or hung out with at a conference.
How do you approach developing relationships? Is it something you just do, or do you have methods of organizing it into your life, as well?