Many, if not most people tell me that they are too busy. Too busy every day. Too busy at work, too busy at home. They are just barely keeping their head above water, juggling it all.
I believe there is an art to finding time, making time for what’s truly important versus what is “busy-work.” A lot of busy-work looks and feels important and urgent but, if you ask yourself “will this task or project that I’m spending time on matter 90 days from today…” the answer is often no.
This question — will this task or project that I’m spending time on matter 90 days from today — is the one that we must ask ourselves dozens of times each day. This question is the one that separates wasteful tasks, mediocre tasks, and good tasks, from great tasks. Only the great tasks contribute on your journey toward a longer-term worthy goal. Good things to do are usually the insidious culprit — they prevent us from doing the great things to do that matter the most — while we feel reasonably good about what we did ‘accomplish’ during the day.
To find more time, we must evaluate the longer-term value of each task before accepting it, before telling someone that you will get it done. Once you say that you will, keeping your word, which is crucial to maintaining your personal integrity and the other person’s trust, takes over. You must learn to say “no” much more often — up front, politely, respectfully, but unequivocally. The “art” is to say “no” in such a tactful way that people still look at you as a core colleague or friend. It usually helps to explain that you have other pressing priorities and give them some ideas of how they can get their task done without your direct involvement.
Your positivity about your life is fueled by progress toward your goals and grand purpose. The simplest habit is to pre-plan your week and each day so that you don’t give in to other people’s tasks and urgencies.
Learn the art of no.