Put your contact list on a diet


I’ve written before about the value of creating a “Focus 30” list–a list of your most important clients, best referral sources, and other people to whom you want to give your time and attention.

Keeping that list in front of you will remind you to call, write, and engage with the people who contribute most to your success.

I didn’t say so then, but I should mention that you can include on your Focus 30 list people who are important to you outside of your professional life. Friends, spiritual leaders, and others you influence you in positive ways also deserve your attention.

If your Focus 30 list is the cream of the crop, the tip of the top, there are undoubtedly people in your life who are just the opposite.

You know the ones I mean.

  • People you don’t like
  • People who waste your time
  • People who are abusive to you and others
  • Takers/users

You get the idea.

Your relationship with these people does not serve you. You should take steps to either reduce the amount of time you spend with them or completely eliminate them from your life.

Of course some people (i.e., clients, close relatives) you may have to put up with to some extent. But this should be a conscious choice you make, not something you do merely out of habit or a sense of duty.

The easiest way to put your contact list on a diet is to go through the list, one name at a time, and rate each person. If you don’t recognize a name, or you don’t communicate with that person often enough to matter, you can skip them. For everyone else, assign a number based on how you feel about them:

1 = Positive
2 = Neutral
3 = Negative

That’s a lot quicker and eaiser than trying to figure out why you don’t like someone. Trust your gut.

If you’re not sure about someone, give them a 2.

Anyway, don’t agonize over anyone and don’t spend a lot of time on this.

When you’re done, go back through the list. 1’s and 2’s are okay. (You may see some 1’s you want to add to your Focus 30 list).

You need to do something about the 3’s.

Some you’ll stop seeing and taking their calls. Cross them off your list. Eliminate them completely from your life.

Others, you’ll reduce the amount of time you give them. If they are a client worth keeping, give the task of dealing with them to someone who works for you. Get away from them as much as possible. If that won’t work, you’ll need to decide if the negative feelings you get from being around these people are worth the money they pay you.

Or, look at it this way: How much more would you earn by getting rid of your negative, anxiety-causing, slow-paying, trouble-making, pain-in-the-ass clients?

Now, as for your relatives. . .