Time is finite. We know this. Yet, often we say “yes” to activities and obligations that are not directly related to our goals, dreams, and life vision. When we say “yes” to these activities, we are in effect saying “no” to accomplishing OUR dreams.
I just finished reading “The One Thing” by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. One of Jay's statements really resonated with me: “ . . . one ‘yes’ must be defended over time by 1000 ‘no’s’.” So what can you do to stay focused on YOUR “yes”?
I recommend following the 3 stages of A.W.E.
AWARENESS – Become crystal clear on your priorities. What is your long term vision and the short term activities you need to accomplish to realize this vision?
WORK – When receiving a request for your time that does not support the activities you have decided are the most important activities you need to accomplish to live true to your vision, say NO. I know, this can be difficult. Practice. Role play with a friend. Identify and memorize some scripts so you have the words and are not caught off guard. Anticipate time stealers – and be proactive to head them off at the pass.
EVALUATION – At the end of the week do a time audit. How much time did you spend on YOUR priorities – and how often during the week were you reactive to someone else’s priorities? What requests do you have a tough time saying “no” to? What strategy can you implement to manage these requests?
Saying ‘no” is a skill that takes practice. Often we are conditioned at an early age to be “nice” and to put other people’s needs ahead of our own. However, you can be “kind”, respect others, and still put your own priorities first.