The Two-Letter Way to Manage Your Time: “No”

Sands of Time

October is National Clock month, and funnily enough, it’s been a month where I’ve been very challenged with time. It seems to be human nature that when we’re looking at something closely – such as time management – then we become very aware of how accomplished (or not) we are in it.

Time can’t be managed. Time is an intangible resource that we can use, or ignore, or waste. Time isn’t concerned with what we are doing – it keeps going along at it’s own regular pace as it has for millennia. We, in our infinite wisdom, attempt to bend, manipulate, distort and control time. For some reason the concept of controlling time reminds me of the quote that mentions nailing jelly to the wall….

We all have the same 24 hours in every day. Why is it that some people power their way through mountains of work, absolute pillars of productivity, while arrive at the end of their day wondering what they achieved?

If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got. – Lee Iacocca

Priorities. Actively deciding what we’re going to do and then doing it. How often have you found yourself checking Facebook just one more time, looking to see who’s on Twitter now, checking that forum you found last week… and then realise that a couple of hours have passed with nothing to show for it. Then you tell yourself that it’s ‘networking’ and therefore productive. Uh uh. If it’s not what you needed to accomplish that day, then it’s wasted time that you can never get back.

We must use time as a tool, not as a couch. John F. Kennedy

Too much to do. I’m guilty of this one. There’s always time for just one more thing. Sure, I can take on that project. Want me on a committee? Love to. Only problem is that we have to schedule it for 11.30 to 11.45pm on Friday nights, because all my other time is booked up – unless you’re available at 2.00am on Wednesdays? One of the most important things you can do for yourself is learn to say ‘No’ and stop taking things on.

I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule. – Louis E. Boone

You don’t have to explain yourself or justify your answer. Have an answer prepared in advance “I’m sorry, I have too much else on my plate to take that on right now”. Or the much simpler “No”.

Life is as much about what you choose NOT to do as it is about what you choose to do.

Do what you enjoy. Ok, I’m not saying that we’re never going to have to do things that we don’t enjoy, there’s always going to be filing and housework for instance, but for the most part you should be doing activities that you enjoy.

When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute — then it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity! – Albert Einstein

If you’re thinking about your job or business with dread – it’s time for a change. If you’re always procrastinating a task, think about why that is –often it’s because you don’t enjoy it. Filling your days with tasks, work and activities that you dislike is soul destroying and sucks the life and joy right out of you. You deserve better, and all you have to do is make a choice and put it into action.

And finally my favourite quote about time (having just turned 40 this year and had to start dying my hair):

Time is a great healer, but a poor beautician. – Lucille S. Harper

About Mel

Melinda BrennanMelinda Brennan is a Business Coach who helps Work at Home Mums find clarity and direction amongst the enjoyable chaos of working at home.

You can find her online at WAHM Biz Builder or come and say hello to her on Twitter.

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7 thoughts on “The Two-Letter Way to Manage Your Time: “No”

  1. One thing I’ve noticed is that at first it’s scary to say no, but once you try it, you realize that people actually respect you for it.
    .-= Janet Barclay´s last blog ..Is Self-Employment Right for You? =-.

  2. What a great and insightful post! I think a lot of people have trouble saying no and it’s such an important thing to be able to do!
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..being positive under pressure =-.

  3. Cathy says:

    This is a super post Melinda. There have been times when I have had real issues with time management mainly due to procrastination and not being focused on the task at hand. Recently I have learnt to say ‘no’ and felt good about it.
    .-= Cathy´s last blog ..My Italian wheels or should I say French =-.

  4. Alex Fayle says:

    @Janet
    I used to have a problem with “no” – I thought that if I said no people would get upset with me and then I wouldn’t deliver and they’d get upset with me. I started saying “no” and everything was great!

    @Positively Present
    It’s the most powerful word – even more so than “yes” – I think that’s why toddlers and teenagers use it so much. 😉

    @Cathy
    Some people say “yes, go for it all” but I think that too many things and we start procrastinating because we can’t choose priorities.

  5. @ Janet, I remember the first time I said ‘No’ to something – I was almost ill from nerves. And the person just turned around and said “Oh, Ok then” I still don’t find it easy all the time to say no, but at least I don’t feel as though I have to apologise for it now.

    @ Positively Present, I once asked a client to look in her mirror and tell herself “no” ten times every morning. LOL!

    @ Well done! Keep on saying no to the unimportant stuff and save your time and energy for what you REALLY want to do!

    @ Alex. 🙂
    .-= Melinda | WAHM Biz Builder´s last blog ..Last Day to Vote for Blog Awards – Please Vote Now! =-.

  6. I loved the part about FB/Twitter (just one more time!) and then days have gone by. Same thing happens to me on Wikipedia. I have such a difficult time saying no, so I always think that I need a personal assistant to help manage the tasks around me. Perhaps this will be a small test this week – see how much I can calmly say no too and check to see what impact, positive or negative, that it has on me. Thank you, Melinda, for your wise words!
    .-= Laura | The Journal of Cultural Conversation´s last blog ..Is it Possible to Read 1001 Books Before You Die? =-.

  7. Alex Fayle says:

    @Laura
    I hope you come back and tell us how your test goes this week. I’d love to hear about the impact as I’m sure a whole lot of others would too.

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