Learn­tosayNO

Run through this check­list be­fore you agree to some­thing that could harm your pro­duc­tiv­ity… or land you in a re­ally dull meet­ing

Men's Fitness - - Fast Track | New Rules Of Work -

Man­ag­ing your time more ef­fi­ciently doesn’t only mean or­gan­is­ing your to-do list. It also means learn­ing to think dif­fer­ently about the value of your time. Of­ten, this mind shift means know­ing what not to do and what to stop do­ing. Say­ing no, giv­ing your­self bound­aries, and un­der­stand­ing whether all the tasks on your to-do list are re­ally nec­es­sary or im­por­tant can make a huge dif­fer­ence in your pro­duc­tiv­ity – and your hap­pi­ness. Try test­ing your­self with this list of five ques­tions to make sure you’re in­vest­ing your time well.

Are you “yes-ing” your­self to death?

Many peo­ple have a deep need to be liked. As a re­sult, they say yes to al­most ev­ery­thing that’s asked of them. The problem is, this makes it im­pos­si­ble to do ev­ery­thing well, and zaps their time and pro­duc­tiv­ity. Take a look at the last ten re­quests you re­ceived (ex­cept as­sign­ments from your boss, which you may not have con­trol over). If you said yes to more than half, it’s prob­a­bly time to push your­self to start say­ing no.

Are you del­e­gat­ing enough?

Whether or not you’re a man­ager, there are op­por­tu­ni­ties to delegate to col­leagues. If you’re do­ing ev­ery­thing your­self, and think “it’s just faster for me to do it”, you may be a del­e­gato­phobe. Take a good look at your tasks over the last week. Are all of those re­ally your job de­scrip­tion? If not, then you want to be­gin to delegate more.

Is ev­ery­thing on your to-do list nec­es­sary?

Don’t look at an end­less to-do list as a chal­lenge to get it all done but as a chal­lenge to pri­ori­tise. If you haven’t tack­led a cer­tain task for weeks, or if you keep push­ing it to a later date, that might be a sign that it’s not ac­tu­ally nec­es­sary. Use your man­ager and col­leagues as sound­ing boards to try to re­move un­nec­es­sary items from your to-do list, so you can ded­i­cate more time to high-pri­or­ity items that will move your goals for­ward.

Hav­ing trou­ble re­mov­ing to-dos at work? Go through each one and write down the im­pact it will have (eg “rev­enue op­por­tu­nity” or “user growth”). You’ll be sur­prised how many items aren’t aligned with your com­pany or per­sonal goals. If this is the case, let them go.

Do you re­ally need to be at that meet­ing?

News flash: you do not need to agree to be at ev­ery meet­ing you’re asked to at­tend. Don’t think you have to be a slave to those peo­ple who in­con­sid­er­ately add meet­ings to your cal­en­dar without ask­ing (ev­ery work­place has them!). Know that you have per­mis­sion to de­cline any­thing that isn’t crit­i­cal to your job.

Set a high bar for giv­ing peo­ple your time, and you’ll find that some ques­tions can ac­tu­ally be sorted out more ef­fec­tively via email or by pick­ing up the phone in a small frac­tion of the time they would take to ad­dress in a meet­ing. Try, “Thanks for the in­vite, but I’m not sure this is the best use of my time, and I’m con­fi­dent that the other par­ties can move for­ward without me” or “In the in­ter­est of time, why don’t we try hash­ing this out over email? Here are the next ac­tion steps on my end.”

Are you a slave to your in­box?

Speak­ing of things you don’t need to do: you do not need to an­swer ev­ery email. Give your­self per­mis­sion to ar­chive ir­rel­e­vant and “FYI” emails you’re copied in on. And while you’re at it, un­sub­scribe from any news­let­ter you signed up for and don’t read. Trust us – if you don’t have time to read it now, you prob­a­bly never will.

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