If there are only 168 hours in a week, why do we so often say “yes” to commitments of time and energy that do not relate directly to our goals? Realize this … every time you say “yes” to someone else’s request in order to please them, you in effect say “no” to your own dreams.
I recently read “The One Thing” by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. One of the statements really resonated with me: “… one ‘yes’ must be defended over time by 1000 ‘no’s’.”
So what can you do to stay focused on YOUR “yes”?
I recommend following the 3 stages of A.W.E.
Become crystal clear on what your priorities actually are. Write down your long-range vision and the short-term activities and tasks that must be accomplished to realize that vision.
Learn to say NO when you receive a request for your time that does not support what you have decided are the most important activities you need to accomplish so you can live true to your vision. I know, this can be difficult. Try these strategies:
- Role play with a friend.
- Identify and memorize some scripts so you have the words and are not caught off guard.
- Anticipate time stealers – and be proactive to head them off at the pass.
Bottom line … practice saying “NO.” Here’s some wording you can try:
- “I’d love to help, but that just won’t fit into my schedule.”
- “This just isn’t my area of expertise; maybe Sue can help you.”
- “I’m over-committed right now and I just wouldn’t be able to give this the time it deserves, so I’ll need to pass. Please ask me again in the future in case my schedule opens up.”
If you feel you must say “yes”, put some time constraints on it, “I can only commit one hour to this project on Tuesday.”
At the end of the week audit your time. How much time did you spend on YOUR priorities – and how often during the week were you reactive to someone else’s priorities?
What requests do you have a tough time saying “no” to?
What strategy can you implement to manage these requests? (More on creating and honoring your boundaries in this post.)
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Saying ‘no” is a skill that takes practice. Often we are conditioned at an early age to be “nice” and to put other people’s needs ahead of our own. However, you can be “kind”, respect others, and still put your own priorities first.
Please share your thoughts and comments
Your turn! How will you apply the strategies above? Do you have a method of staying in control of your time? Please comment and share!
Lisa Crilley Mallis is a time strategy visionary who believes every person deserves the opportunity to live the life of their dreams feeling in control and bringing balance into their lives. The crazy, “I’m so busy” feeling does not have to be way of life. Lisa is a master at cutting to the heart of overwhelm to help you regain control of your schedule and experience life. When you follow your personalized time management strategy, every day can be productive, rewarding, and fun!