Living in a digital and always connected world, means we need to be even more protective over our time. Saying No is an art and will take some practice, but pushing back is positive, constructive and healthy. Start small and work your way up to become a ruthless Productivity Ninja. To get you started, here are some of our top tips for saying No.
Say No to tasks and projects
You might really enjoy helping your colleagues, but there comes a time where you feel like you’re spinning way too many plates at once and something has to give. Before you agree to take on yet another task, think: Do you realistically have time to get the task done? Can you ensure taking on this work won’t make the progress of your own work suffer? Are you the best person to take on this task?
If you’re really keen on taking on a task, it might be time to grab your projects list and sit down with your manager to go through your tasks and see what can be re-prioritized. Sometimes you might look at a task and think somebody else would actually be better suited for it, approach the person and see if you can hand over some tasks.
Say No to meetings
If you look at your calendar, it’ll probably be packed with lots of meetings. How many of these meetings are you actually looking forward to? The number will be slim. Obviously, there are ways to generally make meetings more enjoyable, but chances are there are quite a few meetings you could probably say no to. To make sure you’re not missing out on the important ones, answer the following questions:
- Can you add value to the meeting?
- Is the topic of conversation important and timely?
- If progress is going to be made, are the right people going to be in the room?
If you don’t feel like you can add any value to the meeting at hand, politely decline explaining your reasoning. If you can’t add any value but it would still be good to know what will be discussed, ask for the meeting notes after. If you’re not at the stage of declining meeting invites, be kind to yourself and your schedule and push non urgent meetings to a less stressful time.
Say No to distractions
We all get distracted, it’s natural, but it’s quite easy to pinpoint the source of distraction and to distance ourselves from them when all we need to do is really focus on the task at hand. If you get distracted by notifications on your phone, set your phone on “airplane mode” or disconnect from your wifi to get deep-focus work done. If you get distracted by the environment you’re in, try working from a different spot in the office or take your laptop and work from a coffee shop. The change in scenery can give you the much needed productivity boost you may need. If you’re constantly being interrupted by colleagues walking up to you and talking to you, you might want to introduce a focus system throughout the office. You could tell your colleagues that whenever you’re wearing your headphones or put a specific object on your desk, it means you shouldn’t be distracted. You could also print off signs which either say “please don’t disturb” or “come say hello”.
As we said earlier, it’s only natural to get distracted from time to time, so allocate time for you to get distracted. Committing to a segment of time to separate yourself from work, can allow you to focus more when you are meant to. Give yourself plenty of breaks throughout the day and you’ll quickly realize how much easier you find it to concentrate.
Say No to procrastination
We’ve all had good intentions to get that “thing” done that’s given us that nagging feeling in the back of our minds, but put off doing it until the last minute. However much we’d like them to, deadlines don’t just disappear, so we need to find ways to focus and get that dreaded task done.
Start small and pick one thing off your to-do list and write it on a post-it note. Put your full list away and only get it out again once this one task has been completed. It’s very tempting to get the quick and easy tasks out of the way, but save those tasks for when your energy levels are low and use the time when you’re fully concentrated, which is usually earlier in the day, to get the more complicated and dreaded jobs done. Keep in mind, sometimes it’s OK to procrastinate, as long as it’s “positive procrastination”. For example, organizing your meeting notes or tidying your office desk, might not immediately get you closer to the end goal, but you’re not wasting your time either.
Think Productive are one of the world’s leading time management training training providers. Their range of practical, human and straight to the point workshops have been transforming the productivity of leading companies and organizations around the world.