Prioritizing is Key to Becoming a Digital Leader

digital leader

How many of us have really thought about the impact our digital footprint and digital shadow have on us, individually and collectively?

Author/professor Erik Qualman, who has been called the “digital Dale Carnegie,” addresses the issue in his latest book, Digital Leaders: 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence (McGraw-Hill).

Mr. Qualman writes that digital leaders are made – not born. We all have within us the ability to become a digital leader. Anything we do, fail to do and wish we didn’t do is forever documented on the Internet. Therefore, it’s within our power to take full advantage of what the digital age has to offer, while avoiding pitfalls that can damage our legacy.

Last week, I heard Mr. Qualman speak during a pleasantly soft-sell event at House of Blues hosted by Brickfish, a company that provides Internet and social media marketing engagement for major brands. Mr. Qualman laid out what he calls his five truths to establish a digital leadership “stamp” – simplify, be true to your passion, take action, map your goals and visions, and recognize the role that others play.

What resonated with me – because I knew it would resonate with professional women everywhere – is Mr. Qualman’s take on multitasking. Simply put, multitasking inhibits performance.

Think about it. Women are such multitaskers. Yet all those tweets, texts, status updates and phone calls, and everything else we do, would seem to imply that we MUST multitask. Mr. Qualman argues we don’t need to, and furthermore, that improper multitasking leads to less, rather than more, efficiency.

If this concept speaks to YOU, and you’re hoping to let technology make life easier, not harder, here are a few choice tips from Mr. Qualman’s book:

• Batch-process your various inboxes from 10-10:30am and 3-3:30pm.

  • • If you don’t know the sender, don’t immediately accept the call, text or chat.
  • • Do not read the device applications manuals, which are typically cumbersome and poorly written. Instead, read online tips and watch short product videos.
  • • Buy groceries online.
  • • Treat digital conversations like a tennis match. Quickly put the ball back in the other person’s court with a concise message.
  • • A keystroke in nine saves time. Learn the shortcut keys for the programs you use.
  • • Don’t constantly monitor items. It’s a waste of time and energy.
  • • Give key people a different avenue to reach you than everyone else to make sure urgent messages won’t get lost.

At the Brickfish event, Mr. Qualman shared a story about how he deleted 1,000 emails with one click after returning from a trip. That was after advising senders through his auto-responder that, if their email was important, they should wait to send it till he returned. Despite the big delete, life went on just fine.

I leave you with this thought. Can you honestly say that you get more done when multitasking? Here’s Mr. Qualman’s take: “Once you accept the fact that you aren’t going to get everything done, then you can better address what should get done.”


About Chris Ruys

Chris Ruys is founder and president of Chris Ruys Communications, Inc., a marketing/public relations firm that specializes in high visibility campaigns using both traditional and social media strategies. Her blog, originally called "Getting Social," was launched in October 2010 as a way to share her progress as a "student" of social media. While she's still learning, Ms. Ruys has broadened the scope to include other aspects of marketing communications and PR, including blogging, email, traditional media and advertising in the blog she now calls "Proactive PR."