Time Management – Why saying ‘NO’ is sometimes a good thing

Credit: https://www.energise.me

Are you struggling to fit all of your work-related tasks into your working day?

Are you finding yourself regularly taking work home from the office, and even working evenings and weekends to try and catch up?

With changing technology and the pressure to compete and succeed (especially in leadership, management, and higher scale roles) finding more time to allow you to switch off from work can be an uphill struggle.

8 Steps to find more time by being more effective

When it comes to time management, there are 8 steps to help you find more time by being more effective, as follows:

  1. Do what’s important and not urgent
  2. Don’t Procrastinate
  3. Concentrate
  4. Say ‘NO’ and Purposeful Abandonment
  5. Rest
  6. Celebrate Achievement
  7. Find Your Productive Time Sweet Spot
  8. Get rid of it! Delegate, Devolve, empower, outsource, automate

Saying ‘NO’

 When focusing attention on saying ‘NO’, this can be a daunting prospect for any leader, especially those with entrepreneurial tendencies and a forwards-thinking and strategic approach.

In today’s modern life, full of too much “Busyness” and not enough Business, this is more relevant than ever.

We hear so often, on social media, in the news, and from influential leaders, that we should say ‘YES’ to every opportunity, and grab life by both hands so we don’t miss out.  However, the concept of saying ‘YES’ to everything could cause your more problems than good.

“No is a complete sentence and so often we forget that.  When we don’t want to do something, we can simply smile and say no… 

…We don’t have to explain ourselves, we can just say “No” ― Susan Gregg

Our egos and our need to please others often make us rationalise the decision to say ‘yes’ by over-inflating the benefits and playing down negatives.  Due to this, the emotional brain will always resist saying ‘NO’, but logically a theory (or system as a better word) is required to overwrite this natural reaction.

Purposeful Abandonment

This theory is known as Purposeful Abandonment (Drucker), and is about purposefully abandoning the things that are detracting from your life, which essentially is a way of saying ‘NO’ to things we either do not need in our life, or will detract from our ability to do the other things we need to do.

The fabulous Dan Rockwell writes more about this in his blog ‘Purposeful Abandonment, the art of letting go.’  He suggests the following questions you should ask yourself to decide what you should abandon;

  • What frustrates?
  • What drains energy?
  • What wastes time?
  • What produces small returns?
  • Which customers should be sent to competitors?
  • Is it time to stop petting a pet project?
  • What distracts from leveraging strengths?
  • What has low impact?
  • What can be stopped?

Rockwell also goes onto to suggest as well as a “To Do List”, we should write a “Not to Do List”, which will assist us with eliminating those actions that maybe we have tried and failed at, or that we know will not assist us in terms of productivity or efficiency.

Especially as a leader, it is important to identify tasks that you should say ‘NO’ to, which can be found by asking yourself Dan’s questions.  From this you will be able to formulate a strategy to remove yourself from these tasks, thus allowing you to free up time in your working schedule ‘in no time’.