The One Thing I'm Doing To Improve My Relationships in 2021

It was late at night on one of the last days of 2020. A friend and I were deep in conversation and we came to talk about what we considered the most important things in our lives. We took turns to list out our top three. One of my three is relationships.

Why relationships? Well, as much as I would like to forget that 2020 happened, there are fond memories I will like to remember always. These memories would not have been if not for the relationships I have in my life. I will like to remember the blessings in disguise that came in the moments of connection and reconnection with friends, family and loved ones. Moments like these gave me hope as I struggled through dark and lonely times. The desire to be connected to another human being is so strong that even quarantine did not stop us from finding new ways to safely catch up with the people we care about. Truly, relationships are life's treasures

Like all treasures, it does not come to us easily; it takes hard work and effort. Besides optimising your productivity and making time for self-care, there is another aspect to living a healthy and fulfilling life that could be overlooked in our hyper-connected lives. That is, making an effort to sincerely and thoughtfully maintain your network, in other words: networking.

Previously, I associated the term 'networking' with LinkedIn invites, and exchanging name cards for the sake of finding a job or for making business. However, in time I came to realise that networking can also apply to non-business relationships. Since relationships are valuable treasures, are they not worthy to be carefully managed and maintained too? This entails investing time and effort to keep in touch with those you care about.

To be honest with you, it is tough staying organised while keeping track of the people in your life. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools you can make use of to help you stay organised while maintaining your network. Building on the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), there is Personal Relationship Management (PRM). PRM helps you to keep track of the things you want to remember about people. By including PRM into your arsenal of organisational tools, you will not find yourself scratching your head to recall the last time you chatted with a friend or to think of where to pick up from in your conversations. It means a lot to others when you remember the little things.

Specialised PRM allow you to make notes, capture key details of each person and even let you know when it is time to get in touch. Think of it as a level-up from the Contacts app on your phone. With that being said, what does the Contacts app on your smartphone look like? How many of these people do you actually talk to on a regular basis?

From the depths of Reddit, forums and reviews, here are some PRM tools to aid you in getting organised with your personal network:

1. Kinship (iOS), Free

Kinship boasts to be 'your relationship superpower'. It is a simple tool for lightweight relationship management, likened to being a 'people notebook' for remembering and reconnecting with those who matter most to you. Kinship makes it easy to keep track of the people you know and meet without demanding too much time from you.

2.  Mogul (Web, iOS), Free

Mogul shines in its privacy focused approach to managing your network. This tool aims to help you manage your network thoughtfully in their beautifully designed Web client and iOS app that syncs seamlessly to keep you up-to-date on follow-ups and reminders.

3. Notion (Web, Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)

Notion is an 'all-in-one workspace' to keep everything organised. The beauty of this tool is the flexibility to create your PRM system to suit your personal needs. You can either build it from scratch or use premade templates from the Notion community, such as these:

While adopting a PRM tool will make it easier for you to be organised with your personal network, you will still have to put in effort on your part. This could be making an effort to reach out to someone you have not heard from in a long time. Or, perhaps, taking the initiative to catch up with people one-on-one and remembering special occasions. 

You are in charge of running your life and doing things that benefit what matters to you. In making an effort to improve relationships in your personal network, you are building a good habit that will benefit you in the long run not only among your personal relations but potentially, with professional contacts in the near future.

Besides bringing greater awareness to the time and attention you commit to your relationships, keeping to the habit of PRM cultivates essential skills that you can apply to your professional career and working life. Find a system that works for you and then expand it to include the important contacts in your professional life.