One of my Christmas gifts this year was a hand coffee grinder. This is a great little device for grinding coffee beans by hand.
Why bother when I have an electric grinder? Because from time to time I like to actually pay attention when I make coffee. Instead of being a process that is automated and rushed, making coffee becomes something I focus on, pay attention to, and enjoy. I can feel the beans being crushed as I turn the handle. The experience becomes real and physical…something I am doing, rather than something I get done by a machine.
Anyway, I posted a photo of my coffee grinder on my coffee site, and within minutes someone left a comment.
Here is what he wrote:
“Very nice article but I must say manual coffee grinding is a thing of the past. With all these improvements in technology everything is going automated. Burr coffee grinders are in and manual coffee grinders are out!”
Someone else wrote:
“Nice idea, but I don’t have time for that.”
Is an automatic coffee grinder an improvement in technology? I don’t think so. My manual coffee mill is a conical burr grinder, the best kind, and is adjustable to an almost infinite degree, so I can choose how fine I want my coffee grinds to be.
Automated grinders don’t represent a technological advance at all, they simply offer an advance in convenience.
Now for the other fellow who doesn’t have the time to grind his coffee by hand.
Perhaps I should do an audit of his day and see how much time he spends watching reruns on TV, or how many hours a day he spends playing games on Facebook.
Of course he has the time. He simply chooses to use his time in different ways.
So what does all this have to do with freelancing?
Lots of things. But for now, I want to look at just one.
You can’t automate networking. If you want to build a strong network of peers, prospects and thought-leaders – and you do – you can’t put the process on 100% automatic pilot with newsletters and social media.
By all means use these tools to keep in touch with people, and to attract the attention of new people. Social media is great for extending your reach and staying in touch with a large group.
But when it comes to working your core network, you have to “grind by hand”.
Get on the phone, meet them in person, go out for coffee or for lunch.
Yes, it’s more convenient to automate everything with online tools. But it’s just not the same as talking or meeting face to face. Just about every significant jump forward in my own career as a freelancer has come about as a result of meeting people in person.
Don’t have time to network in person? Yes you do. Just rearrange your other priorities.
This is my advice for the new year…
Make the time to grind your network by hand.
My ebook – Affirmations for Freelancers
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…