Monday, June 16, 2008

Saying No - Time Management 101

I am back in California. Very aggressive travel schedule. 5 weekends in a row with travel. I must like it or I would not do it.

Travel gives me time to think. I was thinking about Time Management secrets. The basics. One basic is to say NO. I am good at the theory but not as good at the practise.

One of the tricks in Time Management is saying no and this is one of the greatest difficulties I have had to deal with over the years. I wouldn’t say that I am even good at it today.

One thing that has helped me to say no is learning to know myself well. Learning what gives me energy and what zaps my energy. As a result I tend to only say yes to the things that give me energy.

This said, there can often be too many things that give me energy so I could end up being too busy which in itself can zap my energy.

Canadian are known for their politeness, so I think it is my Canadian politeness that causes me to not say no enough to things.

One quote that helps with saying no by Jack Canfield is, "Its not against you, its for me".

A while ago I had the most beautiful no experience from a friend of mine who had said she was going to attend a seminar of mine on Time Management. The gist of the email was… it is unlike me not to keep my commitment and I am very sorry but I am finding myself with too many other commitments and I would appreciate if you would excuse me from this commitment.

With a turn down like that, how could I do anything but think more of her.

So thinking about how I can politely turn things down.


At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great reminder. Saying no can be really tough but that's only because we assume that saying no is about the other person -- of course, it's not. We aren't saying no to the person; we're saying no to the event, proposal, whatever. And it has everything to do with where we are at in that moment, and little if anything personal about the other.

May I learn to say no as gracefully as the friend you quote here!

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim. I agree that being able to say NO is a key aspect of time management at work. In my coaching programs I help people say no with out using the word no. This seems to make people more comfortable. An example could be "I'd like to help with that. At the moment I have these projects my boss has given me. You could check in with me next week, maybe I will have time then."

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Dave Brock's Blog said...

Jim: Congratulations on being having the Number 1 blog in the leadership category of HR World. It's a recognition of your dedication and efforts. Best Wishes, Dave Brock

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think saying no has to do with being with real with yourself and with others. As you experienced with the turn-down from the over-scheduled seminar attendee, you could only respect her for knowing herself and letting you know her as well.

Isn't it amazing how often people lie? Making excuses, etc... instead of just being real, saying what's true for them, which then gives others the freedom to be real too.

It takes courage to be real and to say no, but I think secretly it's what everyone wishes for, in others and for themselves.

At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great advice Jim. Learning to say "no" is one of our tips to help avoid busyness:

Be clear about what you are doing;

Ask “why”?, (nicely and often);

Say “no”!;

Prune and review regularly;

Don't get too busy!;

Don’t confuse activity with productivity.

And, of course, remembering Drucker's words:

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Clare Evans said...

I like the Jack Canfield quote. The British share a similar dislike of not saying no enough and often to their detriment - especially when it comes to their own time habits.

It's one of the key strategies to put in place when you're busy.

People have a tendency to say yes too easily without realising the impact it will have on their own workload and their ability to get things done. Inevitably they let people down when they can't deliver or have to cancel something they'd previously agreed to.

It's your time, it's your choice what you do with it.


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