It seems that no matter how you spend your day – whether you’re a student, an employee, or just trying to live your life, that there are so many demands on your time it’s nearly impossible to get things done. While this might not be a problem every day, there are times when you need to concentrate. When you’re studying for an exam or trying to finish out a big project, the last thing you need is another distraction. And nothing is more distracting than being asked to stop what you’re doing and make one more decision. Protecting your time then becomes dependent on one simple word, saying No.
The problem with saying no is that we’re generally wired to say ‘yes.’ We don’t like conflict or shirking what feels like our responsibility (most of the time it’s not). What you need to realize is that it’s more than OK to say ‘no’ – it’s necessary.
Some tips to help you out?
1. List the things you want to stop doing
If you find yourself forever in a conflict about the same requests all the time, it might be it’s just time to create a new policy – like not going out on work nights. Not only does this give you an easy answer when it comes up, but it also creates a more powerful response when asked. Now you’re going from an “I can’t go out tonight” over to “I don’t go out on work nights.” It’s a position that’s difficult to argue.
2. Make that To-Do list for tomorrow
Not only will this aid productivity, but with the day all set out in stone before you even wake up, it’s that much harder to get derailed by any requests. You’re less likely to say ‘yes’ to something when you know your schedule is already full.
3. Don’t treat email like it’s urgent
Don’t check email every time you’re alerted to the arrival of a new message or messages. Set aside time to check your email and then you can deal with everything at once and make any necessary decisions.
4. Realize not everyone is looking for a ‘yes.’
Most people are asking you for things with the expectation of you saying no. Once you realize that most people don’t expect a ‘yes’ (unless you’ve taught them to expect that already by saying ‘yes’ every time), ‘no’ becomes a whole lot easier. Keep in mind that if you’ve been saying ‘yes’ a lot in the past, you’re going to need to spend some time retraining their expectations. Reducing interruptions to scheduled times only, and already mapping out, you’ll find that not only is it easier to say ‘no’ but your concentration will improve a hundredfold. That leads to increased productivity and a day that feels more manageable than impossible
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The Kaizen approach to self- improvement is a lifelong journey. It requires a mindset of self-analysis, recognition and acknowledgement of bad habits, a desire for personal growth. Also and most importantly, it requires action in a positive direction. So why not start today by doing what is necessary and then move to do what is possible. Your own success story starts now, begin your journey of personal development.