Did you know that you can have more by saying NO?
When you say yes to everything you divide your focus, making you much less productive and profitable. As an entrepreneur it’s normal to want to take advantage of every opportunity or take calls at any hour of the day. But the truth is, when you fall into bed at night feeling exhausted, you’ve only accomplished a fraction of what would be possible if you focused on one goal at a time. That hustle attitude is not serving you, but there’s a better way.
As a productivity coach and podcast host of the 22 Minutes to Having it All podcast I’m ferocious about coaching others in the area of saying NO.
The 3-pillars to saying no are; decisions, boundaries and systems.
- Decisions – keep us from getting overwhelmed
- Boundaries – help us overcome interruptions
- Systems – allow for high-performance
The reason you feel so overwhelmed all the time is the fact that you’re making enough decisions. Without good decision-making skills it’s easy to wander through the day aimlessly vs saying “I will make 25 qualified calls by 2pm today.”
Remember, the feeling of overwhelm is actually a symptom of unmade decisions. No matter what path you choose, it’s better than standing still. How do you make a good decision? Ask yourself “what is my desired goal or outcome of X?” once you’re clear on what that is, you stand in conviction with that decision and now it’s easier to take action.
Allow yourself to qualify your time, interactions and communication. How often do you find yourself interrupted? It takes an average of 25 minutes (23 minutes and 15 seconds, to be exact) to return to the original task after an interruption, according to Gloria Mark, who studies digital distraction at the University of California, Irvine.
Just 10 interruptions today will waste 4 hours and 15 minutes of time just getting back to your point of focus.
Try adopting the red light/green light strategy. Lay a piece of red paper or a red sweater in your work space to let others know you’re not available. It’s a visual cue that you are not available to others at that time. It’s the simplest way to communicate this without having to say a thing. You could even put up a note saying you’re available for 10-minutes anytime after 3pm.
The key to any boundary is making sure you stick to it, so be prepared to tell your loved ones, your clients, or even yourself that you’re busy during the times you’ve specified and you’d be happy to let them know when you’re done. It might be uncomfortable at first, but teaching others to respect your boundaries begins with you.
Creating a systematic approach to your day allows you to know what you’re focused on and empowers you to say no when you feel like you can’t.
When you break down what needs to get done each day into three simple categories, have laser focus, then take the actions, over time you are running with amazing consistency.
Let’s start with getting clear on the three things you must focus on:
GROW = 30% of your day
SERVE = 60% of your day
FOLLOW-UP = 10% of your day
Let’s break this down so you know exactly how much time to spend in each area. Let’s run this formula on an 8-hour work day.
Growth; this is the bloodline to any business. Without a consistent focus on growth, it’s hard to secure ongoing business. When you take daily actions in this area of business you will always have forward movement. If 2 hours of your 8-hour day are spent on “growth activities” it will be impossible not to move ahead. If you only focus on your current projects once those are complete you don’t have anything to secure for future business. Spin it and work daily on building and you can already start to see the value of this formula.
2 hours day spent on growth activities connecting with others gives you 10+ hours a week and 40+ hours a month. That’s an entire week spent each month on growth.
What are 10 growth activities for your business?
Service; this is the easy part; it’s simply doing what you do in business. So, 5 hours a day gives you 25 hours a week serving your clients. You will spend 100+ hours each month in this area.
Follow-up; when you take the time to follow-up every day and do what you said you were going to do, it not only serves your clients more effectively, but this one simple action will secure more business for you over time. There are billions of dollars lost every year due to a lack of follow-up.
Spending just 1 hour at the end of each day buttoning up each touch point that you had throughout the day speaks volumes to your integrity and overall success. During the month you’ve spent 20+ hours simply following up to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to be both sustainable and profitable. Adopting ways to say NO more often gives you more time and freedom to do what’s important. When you spend time focused on actions that are sustainable it allows for greater profits.