I find myself many times when I have to say no to many of the things that come to my mind. I capture everything around me that I think will be useful for me in the future. However, that’s a way of starting doing things that is dangerous because I can easily find myself in a position with too many things that I want to do, but it is impossible in reality.
I need to say no to many things because I know that I have only 24 hours in my day, and I have to use that time more optimally.
Saying no isn’t an easy task and can’t be done today and last forever. Tomorrow, again, you will have many possible tasks, possible ideas, and possible things that you want or wish to do. Saying no will need exercises from your side.
My exercises start with implementing different systems that will help me manage my time and the daily tasks that I want and need to do, and at the same time to have time for other personal activities.
Here is a list of some changes that I made in the last several years to implement a systematic approach to say no to many things.
1. Capturing System
First, I need a system to capture everything that I think will be important to me. They are things that come to my mind in the form of ideas, to-dos, reading lists, wishes…
Because my mind is not in a position for a rational decision about what is important, urgent, or do I have time to make something, I want to have everything in someplace where I can come later and process it. That place now is Evernote where I capture everything from my mind.
2. Processing Time
Second, I need time that I will use to process those things and decide what will be the next steps. Because my list of stuff that I put into capturing process can be very long, and I know that I can’t start doing everything, I need to say no to many things.
That decision will be made daily when I process my inbox with everything that I put there on that day. This part of the process is again some exercise because I need a routine each day to process everything.
3. Saying NO
The third thing is saying no to many things.
When I say no, I didn’t mean that I will permanently eliminate all things because many of them will stay as an option for the future, or will be implemented by other people.
4. Non Important and Non Urgent Things
I say no to things that are not important and urgent for me. That thing I permanently delete from my inbox because I don’t want to bother myself with them. They are nonsense for losing my time.
I say no to things that I think someone else can do for me — those things I delegate to other people.
6. Important and Not Urgent Things
I say no to things that are important but not so urgent for me. That isn’t real, no, because these things will stay somewhere in my task management system, but because I will schedule them to be implemented in the future or remind me that I have something like that.
In such a way, I can drop, in most cases, more than a half of tasks, ensuring that I will work on what’s most important and urgent for me, and everything else that is important will be processed properly and completed.
I want to mention here that this process is not successful because of the process. It can be successful because of your mindset. If you decide to become more productive and more focused on what’s important for you, you will need to experiment and exercise with different approaches.
I will talk more about some of the processes that I use in one of the future posts.