If you're saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to?
Too often I hear about how busy people are. The time to priorities is now. I have yet to meet anyone who has the ability to manufacture time
Lately, the number of books I have been reading has tripled. At any given point in time, I am reading three books. Some are for inspiration, some for relaxation and some, for my own growth as a coach. I recently read Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit. In it, he lists seven questions that will help coaches, managers and leaders have meaningful, outcome based conversations that are devoid of fluff.
One of the questions he proposed really resonated with me. I often hear people talking about how busy they are. As though it is a sign of achievement. It’s not. Being too busy is a sign that you are unable to say No or manage your time effectively. The busyness is caused by us not them. The question that stood out (and is now the title of this blog) was simple: If you are saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to?
Asking this simple question of yourself or your team, should get the creative juices flowing. It reminds us that we only have a set amount of capacity and capability to get things done. We need to prioritize our work, spending the limited time we have available each day working on what really matters. My question to you is how do you know what is important enough to say Yes to and where you should be spending you time.
When working with my clients, I ask them to create a list of all the things they do in a month. I then ask them to plot each thing into the calendar at their normally scheduled times. This includes meetings, work to be done, family responsibilities and personal commitments. Next, I ask them to set up time in their calendar for the things they wish they could be doing, regardless of if they overlap the existing commitments. Lastly, I get them to write a list of the things that are not their regular commitments but that keep popping up. I ask them to overlay these on the calendar. We now have a clear, albeit messy picture of what’s up taking our time and preventing us from getting to the things we are supposed to be doing and love doing. It also, on occasion, shows just how much free time we actually have that we could be using to get things done instead of telling people how busy we are.
Now that there is a real picture of what is going on, I can ask Michael Bungay Stanier’s question; If you are saying Yes to this, What are you saying No to?