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Learning to say NO

“It’s only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

Steve Jobs

Hi Motivation seekers, how are you?  Has your week gone well and have you got some new time management techniques underway?  Really hope that’s working for you.

I was thinking about managing time all week after writing last weeks post, and I know I promised some more tips for you, which I will give you in a minute.  The main thing I was thinking though is that if we learn to say no, we won’t get ourselves into such a mess in the first place.  Some of us struggle with this more than others.  I am one of the latter.  Always end up taking on too much, feeling I have to do it all and do it myself and then feel put upon and resentful that I’m always the one who has to do everything!  Sounds a bit like a victim mentality, I know and not a great way to be.  What is the answer?  It is learning to be selective, only saying yes to the things that are important and the ones that really matter.  It’s a continuation of what I said last week about prioritising.  There is only so much time and we won’t ever have enough to say yes to everything, so limit what you say yes to.  Trust me, the world won’t end if you do that.  In fact, you will become more productive, less stressed and feel better about who you are and your place in the world.

Start with a “not to do” list

Yes, you read that right!  This is going to make a huge difference to your productivity.  Write a list of all the things that you are doing that take up a lot of time.  Be honest about this!  When you have the list, write the action beside it that you will take – either Automate it, Delegate it, or Eliminate it.  It’s that simple.

For example, if you are a busy, working Mum or Dad and you are spending heaps of time each week on household chores, you can choose to delegate those or eliminate them by reducing the time taken on them.  I used to vacuum every single day years ago.  Was that absolutely necessary?  NOOOOOOO.  I also used to do all household work myself until we got a roster going and everyone helped.  Eventually, I employed a cleaner which was the most sensible thing I ever did.  We don’t have to do it all.  If you are finding it hard to have any spare time in your busy life, then you need to start with your “not to do” list.

Some more quick time management tips

Manage your email/social media/phone use – these are the hugest time wasters ever.  Control them, set limits, block out time for them and don’t start your day off with checking any of them.  Get on to important stuff first, then check the emails/social media/phones.  Same time every day, with a time limit on them.  I read about a guy who always checked his emails at the end of the day, with a glass of wine in hand – sounds good to me.

Time block tasks – manage your time according to your most productive time of working.  E.g. if you work best in the morning, do the important/big picture stuff then.  Leave the mind numbing, don’t have to think hard things until your least productive working times.

Work on one thing at a time – good time management is not multi-tasking.  That only leads to stress and work not done particularly well.  It is easier to concentrate and be productive if we focus on one thing only.  E.g. turn your phone off when doing important work that requires deep concentration. Turn your email alerts off, anything that stops you being distracted will help.

Hope these all make a difference for you.  Get in touch if you want to ask anything or find out more.  Have some fun this week practising the “No” word.