Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Saying no to yourself, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- No is the most powerful word in your vocabulary when it comes to focus. Many people don't have a challenge with saying no to others, but they have a significant challenge saying no to themselves. I see this occur most often in entrepreneurs or in people who are in highly creative fields. They have many ideas that compete for their attention. But instead of saying no to some of these ideas, they put all of them on their calendar and end up spreading themselves and their available resources very, very thin.
I would like to help you gain some skill in the art of actively saying no to yourself. The easiest way to say no to yourself is to create what I call a "Perhaps" List. A Perhaps List is filled with ideas, innovations, things that you might do someday but haven't yet made the commitment to do them. When an idea comes into your head, if you're not fully committed to it, put it on the Perhaps List. This will allow you to consider the idea later on without tying up valuable and previously committed resources.
Set a recurring appointment for yourself to review this Perhaps List, usually once a month to once every three months. Then, as you review the Perhaps List, you can take a moment and decide whether or not you're ready to take action on that idea, delete it, or leave it on the list for future review. When is also a powerful word when saying no to yourself, meaning, when are you going to do it? When a new idea comes into your head, ask yourself, do I need to do this now, or can I do it later? As long as you are using your calendar properly as a time budget, procrastination can actually be your friend.
Appropriate procrastination can help you, because you're still going to complete those ideas but do so by putting them further into the future on your calendar. In my experience, most people think too short-term when it comes to their calendar, only what can be done today or within a week. Instead, think in terms of months or even years. When adding something new to your calendar, a new project, a new idea, a new initiative, ask yourself, when is the latest that I can complete this? Then put it into your calendar as far into the future as is reasonable.
This will allow you to focus on the tasks at hand and not get distracted by every idea that pops into your head. By learning the skill of actively saying no to yourself, you'll be better able to focus and complete the projects you already have on your plate. And you'll likely see more success by bringing projects to full completion before switching to the next big idea.
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