How to improve your professional future in 140 minutes a week

How to improve your professional future in 140 minutes a week

One hundred and forty minutes a week. That’s two hours and twenty minutes, or roughly three episodes of ‘Friday Night Lights’ on Netflix. Now, I am as committed to Friday Night Lights as the next guy or gal (did you know it’s the most popular TV series on Netflix? Apparently it is, but don’t hold me to it!) but would I give up three episodes per week in a bid to improve upon my professional future?


Okay, now some of you may be already calculating this as you read – 140 minutes is in effect 20 minutes per day. ‘What the heck can I do in 20 minutes a day that will improve my professional lot in life? Are you serious?’ Well yes, as a matter of fact I am.  I have two words for you:

1. Twitter.
2. LinkedIn.

Okay, let’s explore further!


I suggest you spend 15 minutes a day on Twitter. I’m talking minimum here, but it’s time you can spend well if you’re smart about it. Here is how I suggest you spend this allocated time:


  • Sign up to the social media scheduling tool, Buffer App. Install its plugin on your (Chrome) browser. Whenever you read an article or watch a video you think others will be interested in, ‘buffer it’ to be distributed via Twitter either in real time or at a later date/time. Please note – time taken to read said article (or watch said video) doesn’t count – you should be doing this anyway 🙂
  • This actual action will only take you seconds, but let’s allow 30 seconds so you can make a comment or craft a more interesting headline than what pops up with the article when you ‘buffer’ it.
  • Okay – that’s 10 tweets you should be able to send in five minutes per day, or at least 70 valuable tweets over the course of a week! The key here, of course, is to ensure that what you tweet out has some value. You can be purposeful of course – this is about your ‘professional future’ after all! Don’t tweet out links to funny cat videos unless you want to a job with the RSPCA’s Funny Cat Department (that exists, right?). What do you want to be known for? What conversations do you want to drive or be part of? Read and share links within that ‘confined intellectual space’. Of course, if you’re not reading around your profession or industry… hmmmm.


  • Who are the people in your profession or industry – the movers and shakers, or more importantly, the emerging influencers? Who are the people who follow them? Who are the people they influence? Again, be purposeful! This is information that is all open and accessible.
  • By my calculations, if you follow 10 people within a five-minute period per day – or 70 people per week – that’s 3640 people per year; if 50 per cent of the people you follow on Twitter decide to follow you back, you will finish the year with something like an extra 1820 followers. If you build a relationship ON and OFFLINE with just THREE PER CENT of these followers, there’s a solid (and valuable!) 54 people ensconced in your personal and professional networks right there – and I’m being conservative!


  • This is the ‘unsung’ part of Twitter people don’t like to think about; indeed, it is the BIG failing of those companies that jump on to Twitter and start banging on about their products and services! This element is about becoming a valuable part of the Twittersphere – and yes, it sounds jokey and loose and flaky – but you’d be surprised how ‘jokey and loose and flaky’ can lead to serendipitous meetings and business opportunities. Bottom line: On Twitter, the more you put in, in terms of genuinely engaging with others, the more you will get out of the medium.

I’ve only allowed five minutes a day for LinkedIn and this does not include reading the many and varied valuable articles and updates that pop up daily if you subscribe to them – as you should!

If I only had five minutes a day on LinkedIn, this is what I’d do:

  • Visit the site every day – keeping an eye on those people I’m connected with who are moving jobs or getting promotions, and then (selectively) dropping them a line to congratulate them.
  • Update my feed with news and links to relevant videos and articles you think others in your network might be interested in (you can do this via BufferApp if need be, thus saving tons of time)
  • Share or comment upon other people’s content if I felt it was interesting and relevant for my audience.
  • Always be on the lookout to link in with people who I either already know and have had dealings with, or do so during my day-to-day connecting with people via Twitter or as a result of meeting them at events etc.

You could do a lot more with both platforms of course (such as becoming an integral part of relevant LinkedIn groups etc, or tweeting more and connecting at a greater level with those who follow you) – but if you only want to do the minimum, then what I’ve outlined above – while the minimum – is still enough to give you a decent kick-off from which you can start building momentum for your professional future.

More reading:

Personal branding on LinkedIn: 10 mistakes to avoid
10 essential personal branding tips for Twitter
Not getting followed back on Twitter? This may be why
Online vs offline: Which is more important in building your authority & reputation
Twitter for business: 18 things you shouldn’t do
Don’t be a LinkedIn Tart!
13 things that really annoy people on LinkedIn


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