Saying “No” is one of the oldest and simplest techniques for time management. It is also among the most difficult. The more things that you say no to; the more time you have for the important items on your task list.
Why is it difficult? It can be many things. It could be fear of harming the relationship with the requestor, fear of looking incapable in front of peers or fear of a confrontation that may come of the denial. It might also be a sincere love for the person asking, a desire to help or enthusiasm for the opportunity.
No matter what the reason. Here are some techniques that may help you say no more often.
- Create a “Stop Doing” list. It is a list of anything that has no value, or too little value, compared to your time investment. Try to be objective. It can be easy for things to slip in value without you realizing it. Include meetings, appointments, tasks, and projects in your analysis.
- The act of prioritizing your daily task list automatically prioritizes the highest value / most important things. The items at the bottom of your prioritized task list are less likely to get done. Frequently, that means they will never get done a.k.a you have said no.
- Prioritize your calendar in the same manner as your task list. Block out time for what is important in your life. Similar to the bullet above, that will not leave near as much time for low value items.
- When you do not feel as if you can say no to a request, work out a delay with the requester. That may sound like, “I can’t today, but I could get to it tomorrow.” Frequently, they may find a way to get it done in the meantime. That is the effect that you often find when you take days off; there are never as many tasks waiting for you as you would have done if you were at work.
- This technique also conditions others to the idea that you value your time. It shows them that your priorities are not necessarily going to be whatever they deem urgent for you.
Join me in saying “No” more often. You will find yourself much more productive and successful!
Just my opinion. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
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2 thoughts on “Saying “No”- Time Management 10”
When I first became a leader in my current organization, a wise leader told me that “the things you say no to are equally, if not more, important than the things you say yes to”. That wisdom has stayed with me and has served me well for many years. Thank you for this article and for sharing the idea that we must say “no” sometimes.
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