What a brilliant article – and just what I needed to read today! If you battle to say no to others – and this character trait is just causing you stress and overwhelming you, then this advice is for you … Ed.
Your time is your life and your money
Your so-called time management system can be judged by the service it provides, the fulfilment it brings and the economic rewards it produces.
But, there is no such thing as true time management
You have the same exact amount of time as anyone else – 24 hours in a day to work in.
Getting more done is not about managing your time; it is about how you chose to focus your attention and intention during the time you have. When you focus on scheduling your day to do certain higher priority actions, they are more likely to get done.
If you fill your day with high priority actions that inspire you your day won’t fill up with low priority distractions that don’t.
Since you can have more than one kind of high priority action, it is wise to define them accordingly by further prioritising.
High priority items or actions can fall under one or more of the following categories:
- Those needing to be strategically planned (working on the business)
- Those needing to be done in relation to yourself
- Those needing to be done in relation to your employees
- Those needing to be done in relation to your clients, customers, patients …
- Those needing to be done that are creative (new divisions, services, products, markets …)
- Those needing to be delegated outside your company (outsourced)
- Those needing to be delegated inside your company (insourced
In order to fill your day with your highest priorities it is essential to master the art of saying no to anything less important
Pause for a moment. Take a deep breath. Then practise responding to requests and offers
When you are unclear about what your true highest priority or business mission is, distractions can take you ‘off track’ and consume your time, attention, energy, focus, power of concentration and productive capacity.
Knowing what your highest priority business mission and primary objectives are prevents you from being as easily distracted by every so-called ‘opportunity’ that comes along. It allows you to be more discerning about the activities you choose to take on board and those you discard.
You cannot please everyone so don’t waste your time trying
Continually saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no will cost you greater opportunities and lead you to bite off more than you can chew. Your time is finite.
Block out all less important distractions. Give them up. Embrace your trade-off
If your answer to whether to do something is not a clearly a definite yes, then it is wise to make it a no. Say no gracefully and you will receive greater long-term respect. Ask yourself, “Is this truly essential?” If not, say no.
Try eliminating, or scaling back some of your activities to determine if reducing or eliminating them makes any real difference in your results. This also helps you determine which actions are truly the most productive priorities. Deliberately eliminate or at least reduce your trivial, unimportant, unnecessary and irrelevant actions. Your intentional limits can help you become more limitless.
Sticking to your own higher priorities each day raises your self-worth, while others’ distractions can lower it
Consider the benefits to yourself and others for telling them the truth and no and clear any burdening emotions. Your integrity and at times tactful bluntness will allow you to get your most important job done. Your true friends or colleagues will respect your time and your priorities.
Since your work will expand or contract to fill the time allotted (Parkinson’s law), if you don’t fill your space and time with high priorities they can become filled with low priorities. And, if you don’t consume your energy and material resources with high priorities uses they can become consumed by low priority ones. If you don’t intensify your day with inspired actions. things can slow down.
Many distractions that are being initiated by others are often opportunistic in nature
Many are simply others trying to sell you something – an idea, a viewpoint, an opinion, a friendship – in exchange for your valuable life and time. Simply being aware of what is being sold allows you to be more deliberate in deciding whether you want to buy or spend time on it.
Saying no will earn you respect
Gracefully, respectfully and reasonably saying no, may temporarily disappoint the opportunist, but eventually it will lead them to respecting and appreciating you even more. It shows that you are a professional more than just an amateur and that you value yourself and your time more than their distractions.
It is wiser to have a long-term gain in respect than a short-term popularity. You cannot be popular with everyone all the time anyway.
So ask yourself every morning what exactly is the highest priority action step I can take today to help me fulfil my most purposeful, meaningful, productive and profitable dream tomorrow.