4 ways to say no and save time

By Alison Hill | Jul 31, 14 09:19 AM

Win the war against your inbox

Have you noticed how hyperactive the world is at the moment?

Change has come through the front door, set up camp and started handing out orders – loud ones – and it’s relentless. We sigh with relief in that moment that we think change has gone quiet, only to be jolted back to reality when we realise it was just simply drawing breath ready to hit us with the next onslaught.

And yet change is not the enemy. We’ve always had it and we will always have it. Whether it was five years ago or five years into the future, change has always been around. What is different now is the sheer speed of change. We are being asked to do more and more in less and less time – leaving us with a constant feeling of being overloaded.

So what we do is put our nose to the grindstone waiting for things to calm down. But this waiting for calm is false hope. It ain’t gonna happen any time soon.

It is those individuals and teams who are rising to the top in a change environment are those who are able to commit to deal positively with being overloaded and execute on the essential things that need to be delivered.

Yeah, yeah – sounds good, I hear you say, but have you seen my inbox? Do you know how many meetings I have to attend this week?

Yes – I hear you!

I was chatting with a senior executive last week and she said that she had done the numbers and had calculated that after attending meetings and getting ready for meetings she only had 14 minutes left in the week to get her work done.

Talk about ridiculous!

So instead of running from meeting to meeting, dealing with email after email, and rapidly shifting from project plan to budget plan, it’s time to take on board these four steps to refocus:

1. STOP before you start

Time is finite; we have to give up something in order to do more. Stop for two minutes and decide what you will say no to first.

2. DECIDE on the one thing

If you only got one thing done today, what thing would give you the greatest feeling of success? Don’t go home until you do that thing.

3. CHOOSE the next best thing

In order to make progress on a project, task or direction, decide what is the next best thing you could do. Make it practical, tangible and relevant.

4. PLAY it like a game

This is the fun bit. Games have three elements: 1) goals; 2) rules; 3) feedback.

Set the goal, play with the rules and track feedback regularly. Once it’s done it’s time to celebrate.

Change is not going to change, but what can is how you interact with it. It’s time to step up, make the decisions that matter and thrive in this relentless change environment.

Alison Hill is a Premium member of Business Chicks. Reqeust her business card and connect with her here


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