I'm not rude, I'm not mad, I'm not disorganized — I'm just very, very busy

Replying to all e-mail messages and private messages from online networks within 24-48 hours is a nice ideal. Actually, replying to all of them eventually is a nice ideal. But it’s simply not always possible.

Unfortunately, when people don’t get a response, sometimes they feel that:
a) they’re being personally slighted or the recipient is mad at them
b) that the recipient is simply being rude
c) that the recipient poorly organized

None of the above are true for me, as I’m sure is the case for many other people. If I don’t reply, I’m not rude, mad at you, or disorganized — I’m just very, very busy.

This is a general issue — I’m just using myself as an example. For the month of August, for example, I’m booked 18 full days at clients.

That means my typical day consists of:
– 10 hours at the client (including travel time & lunch)
– 1 hour prep for the next day at the client
– 4 hours personal time (meals, hygiene, exercise, family, relaxation/entertainment)
– 1-2 hours on my About.com work (average)
– In the remaining 7-8 hours a day, I have to work on marketing The Virtual Handshake, handle my e-mail and online communities, and sleep.

That gives me around 1-2 hours a day to handle all my correspondence and online communities. When I got home tonight, I had 254 messages, of which 108 are NOT bulk mail. I can cut that down to less than 100 in just a couple of minutes, but even that, at an average of 1-2 minutes per message, is more than I have time to handle right now.

Not everyone is this busy with their work, but a lot of people are. What I see all too often in online networking communities is a lack of empathy/respect for that fact. It’s not entirely a case of “haves” vs. “have-nots” — there are a lot of successful people with plenty of time on their hands, too.

So, if you have time on your hands, enjoy it. Be glad you do. But please be respectful of the time of those who don’t, and don’t take it personally or hold it against them when they don’t have time for you. It’s no reflection on you, or even on your relationship with them. Sometimes people are just really, really busy. I am!