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Links > Business Articles > Productivity >

Be Discerning and Learn How To Say ‘NO’

By: Louise D'Allura, Director, The Revamp Experience | Wednesday 19 October, 2016

As they saying goes, “how you spend your days is how you spend your life”. In this article LOUISE D’ALLURA shares strategies that will assist you to become more discerning with your time so that each and every day you can get more done in your business.

Are you able to look at all of your competing demands and easily work out what is the best use of your time? Can you do this equally at work and at home? If you’re struggling don’t worry, you’re not alone.

While it might be challenging to do this, reducing the load you’re carrying is essential before it crushes you or you burn out. Where do you start?

If everyone constantly looks to you for guidance or you end up doing everything yourself because no one else knows what to do at work or at home, ask yourself: “Could anyone realistically achieve the standards I set, or function under the pressure I put on myself?” If your answer is “no”, it’s time to stop.

Start by brainstorming the home and work tasks that could easily be done at 80% of your standards and still be considered okay. 

6 Steps to R-E-V-A-M-P your to do list:

Grab your to do list and use this structured approach to get things that probably shouldn’t be on there, off your to do list. 

Step 1  R-emember: What are the things that only you can do? It’s a good time to sit down with your ‘key stakeholders’, e.g. boss, partner, children and confirm you’re doing only what needs to be done. What’s in your genius zone versus what any breathing human could do?

Step 2  E-valuate:
Grab a page and divide it into three and write down where your tasks fit:

  • Time waster tasks. These are the tasks no one would miss if they weren’t being done. Often we do these out of obligation.
  • Just because ‘you can’, doesn’t mean ‘you should’ tasks. Women often have the belief that “If I don’t do it, no one else will.” While this can be true, we rarely let anyone see the consequences of things not getting done. With all tasks, ask yourself, are you the only person on the planet who has the abilities to do this? Could someone else do the task better, faster and cheaper than you? Can you really afford the time and energy it drains? Think about this for jobs you do at home and at work.
  • Tasks in your genius zone. These are tasks only you can do – and you do them easily.  

Step 3  V-alue: Review the tasks in your genius zone at work or at home. Check in with your stakeholders to confirm if you’re delivering more than what is required and then adjust your standard accordingly. What you consider as doing the job to only 80% could be perfectly acceptable, and beyond what is actually needed. 

Step 4  A-ssign: With the tasks you need to do, work out when and how you’ll do them. With tasks that you can delegate, think creatively about who can do them. Could colleagues, service providers, friends, family members or your children do them if instructions or training were provided? 

Step 5  M-aintain: Develop criteria to help you discern if something should get anywhere near your to do list. Ask, why this task, why you and why now? What is the return on investment and how long will it take? Don’t assume you should be taking on any future task without proper analysis.

Step 6  P-arty: Celebrate when you say ‘no’ to tasks that you would have previously said ‘yes’ to! Saying ‘no’ early often means you’re not disappointing others, or crushing yourself with responsibilities and beating yourself up over tasks you think you should be doing.

Being discerning at work and home allows you to focus on the things that you truly must do, while sharing the workload. Appreciating how limited your time is, allows you to focus your energy and attention on what matters the most.


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