The Positives of No
It’s been estimated that we spend about 20% of every day on non-productive activities. How often do you pick up the same piece of paper five or six times before you finally dispose of it? That’s an organization problem – click over to the home section for help on conquering the clutter. But a significant portion of that twenty per cent of wasted time is attributable to the fact that you didn’t say “no” when you should have. NO is not a four letter word, but some of use would rather swear like a dockworker than say “no” to anyone.
The best way to say “no” to those unwanted interruptions, social engagements or tasks that you really don’t want to take on is to first say “YES” to yourself: block out in ink on your calendar time that is just for you. For some of us, that means getting up an extra half hour early for uninterrupted time with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. For others, it might mean stealing twenty minutes on the way home to do a brisk walk around the local high school track. The family and kids won’t notice you weren’t there for those twenty minutes, but you’ll notice the improvement in yourself.
People who plan for their personal lives are less likely to report feeling overloaded in their professional lives (and I define that loosely to include any outside responsibilities: kids, family, work, volunteer work, committees, etc.)
Give yourself a time-out. No phone calls, no emails, no chatting, no chores. Use the calm and quiet to focus on the most important person in your Universe: you.