Simply being smarter with your time means that a career break or reduced hours do not need to limit your marketing and business development activities.

Part-time working is no longer the preserve of women returning from maternity leave, although they remain in the majority. Germany’s vice-chancellor recently hit the headlines earlier this year for carving out Wednesday afternoons for his daughter.

 As our parents live longer, you could find yourself needing to take time more off or reduce your hours to care for a relative and may need to re-engineer how you make time for marketing.

Career breaks and reduced hours do not need to limit your marketing and business development activities – you can also find ways to be smarter with your time.

 Maternity leave is the most obvious planned career break, but professionals may also take time out for a sabbatical or to write a book. Naturally, while you are out of circulation, this can give rise to concerns about its impact on your business development activities. 

If you know that you will be out of the picture for a while, then there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that your profile will be maintained while you are not working.

Devote some time to making sure that you are connected with all your key clients and contacts on LinkedIn before you leave. Some 10% or more of your contacts could leave in a year, and you do not want to have lost touch with them when you return. Spending a few minutes each month monitoring the updates to see what people are up to – making a small effort to keep in touch will be well worthwhile.

 Here a few practical tips specifically for part time workers and returning mothers:

  • Become an expert at delegation.
  • Swap long lunches for a quick bite or a coffee.
  • Use your commuting time for keeping in touch by emailing or social networking.
  • Maximise use of technology to manage your diary and your contacts, and increase efficiency.
  • Set up childcare arrangements with your partner or spouse, so that you have at least one evening or morning a week for networking.
  • Makes sure that you book events ahead to use that time to network (not catch up on admin).
  • Don’t waste that entire business lunch talking about the family.