Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Saying no to others, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- There is one word that's more powerful than any other when it comes to focusing your time. That word is "no". I'd like to help you gain the art of saying no to others, gracefully and tactfully. As you become more productive and manage your time better, others may see your success and want you to particpate in projects or causes or other things that they have going on. That isn't to say you'll always say no, but it's important to say no more often than you say yes.
You're time is limited, so whenever you say yes to one thing, you're, in effect, saying no to something else. In other words, spreading yourself thin will sabotage the success of anything you've already committed to. Here are a few simple and effective ideas that you can use whenever someone asks you to participate in something. First, you might ask for the request through email. This gives you time to consider the request in a calm environment where you can look at your calendar, and consider whether you truly have the time in your budget to participate.
Also, it allows you to prepare a response that's diplomatic and kind in the case that you do have to say no. Asking for an email request allows you to prepare a response in a written format rather than making an excuse in person or, worse yet, saying yes, simply because you're uncomfortable with a face to face no. And, let's be honest, some people may not actually follow through with asking you.
Many people ask for help simply because you're face to face, but they weren't really committed to having you involved. This gives them the opportunity to back out gracefully or fail to follow through. Now, what if it's your boss making the request or your customers? Often it's wise to say yes in these situations. Just make sure you get a when, meaning a date and time of completion or action. For instance, let's say that your boss asks you to get a report to them.
You can ask the question "When is the deadline for this report?". This will allow you to make prioritized decisions about what you have in your calendar. A common mistake of managers and leaders is that they delegate many responsibilities to their employees but don't provide clear deadlines. This causes confusion and makes it difficult for employees to budget their time. Help others out by asking them to give you a when whenever a task is delegated. Part of saying no is also asking the question "when?".
Maybe you're not going to say no to it altogether, but you are going to say "not now but later." This is when I'm available to do it. By learning the art of saying a tactful no to others, you'll protect your time budget and improve your focus on your most valuable activities.
Learn how to get more done in the shortest time possible and avoid the obstacles and distractions that can get in the way of good time management. Dave gives practical strategies for increasing productivity in three main areas: developing habits to be more organized and reducing clutter in your workspace; staying mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; and developing a time budget to get the most done during your workday and focus on your most valuable activities.
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- Finding your productivity style and motivation
- Understanding the principles of time management
- Avoiding the pitfalls of multitasking
- Narrowing your gathering points
- Consolidating email and voicemail accounts
- Practicing mind-clearing techniques
- Choosing and using calendar software
- Saying no with tact
- Mastering the what, when, where processing system
- Processing email vs. checking email
- Maintaining productivity gains