When you say yes ….
Many years ago, I heard the quote from Tim Harford who said, ‘Every time we say yes to a request, we are also saying no to anything else we might accomplish with the time.’ This really resonated with me. In the past I have been a bit of a people pleaser. I’d often say yes to thinks that I thought I ought to be doing rather than wanting to do. In my personal life it might have been a party, in work it was usually saying yes to more work when I was already drowning in what was on my desk. Over time I have realised that the most important thing I can do each week is to schedule my priorities so that I am focusing on the right things. If someone then asks for additional stuff, I know what will be affected if I say yes. In his book, From Good to Great, Jim Collins said that ‘if you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities’. I think this is a great way of helping you to keep focused.
Remember that you only have 168 hours in each week. If you sleep for 8 hours every night (I know a luxury, but bear with me), you’re already down to 112 hours. Why don’t you try carving up your week and scheduling your priorities into the time you have? It’s an interesting exercise and it will help you become more conscious of where you want to spend your time and therefore be true to yourself when you receive those additional requests that will take you off course. Make sure you are stringent with your time so that you allocate according to the priority.