Last week, we talked all about what to say “no” to. Having the discipline to say “no” is a valuable first step in time management.
But, that doesn’t mean you can just haphazardly say “yes” to everything else that crosses your desk.
This isn’t “Say Yes To the Dress,” and no one has time for that!
Instead, think about what you have said “yes” to already. What is currently on your actionable to-do list and what you would like to work on in the future.
Before saying “yes” to a new task, ask yourself these 7 questions:
- Are you good at it? We all have core strengths and abilities. Those things that come naturally to us. You could do them well and you could do them in your sleep. One of my core strengths, for example, is creating processes. If I can get out a piece of paper and start drawing a diagram I’m in my zone. My team used to joke with me, “oh boy, she’s going to start drawing.” The moment we started brainstorming or problem-solving, they knew it was coming. It’s just how my mind works. So, where are you naturally gifted? What do you bring to the table on a project? If the task you are faced with is something you don’t know how to do (and don’t care to learn) try to delegate it. If it’s in your genius zone keep it!
- Is it one of your superpowers? My friend, Jeff Gibbard, created an organization called The Superhero Institute, which is “a company dedicated to showing people how to be super-humans at work and in life.” I love this name and what he stands for. When you join Jeff’s private Facebook group he asks you “What Is Your Superpower?” The question isn’t optional. You need to answer it to enter his group. And, he is right….we all have a superpower. Answer the question! In fact, we each have a few. Sometimes we just lose sight of what it is. Take a second right now and think about what your superpowers are. Superpowers are a level above what you are good at. This is your core power. Your differentiator. In your organization, that might mean you are the only person with that exact superpower. This is what your company is paying YOU the big bucks for. Working on these things is what makes you invaluable to your company. Think about what is on your plate at the moment. Are you a superhero at this? Or is someone else? Know when to outsource and know when it’s your time to shine. And when it’s your turn, shine like the superhero you are!
- Does it empower you and your team? Is this something new you’ve wanted to try? Does it bring you strength or confidence? Does it give a team member more authority or room to grow? These emotions are powerful in cultivating a culture of empowerment. If the task empowers, go for it!
- Does it serve others? Is it an opportunity to teach or lead a team member in a new area? Will this help someone else succeed? Does this benefit your customer? If you are truly doing this task in service to others it’s likely a worthwhile task.
- Did you mix business with pleasure? Keep both business and personal “yeses” in mind as you prioritize. It’s important to consider what’s truly going on in your life as you navigate all your commitments. Do you have an elderly parent you need to spend more time with? Is your child going through a tough time? Do you have a home renovation project planned? Is your business about to launch a new product? Did you just lose a team member? I talk a lot about “seasons”. Always consider what season you are in. When we hear “seasons” we instantly think of the holidays. But seasons come and go all the time. They can be physical like winter or summer. But, they can also be a period of time. Think of it as a chapter in life such as when your kids were little or when you lived in another state. For example, right now, we are in quarantine for COVID-19. This is a season we are in that will pass. But, our lives and work look different due to the season we are in. All this to say before you say “yes” consider if the season you are in warrants these tasks. Your priorities have to shift with the realities of the season you are in.
- Does the task help your company or advance your career? Whether you are the boss, or not, you need to consider your ROI. Businesses need employees who make them money. Period. So, if this task is nice to have instead of affecting the bottom line you might want to reconsider. Do the work that moves the needle.
- Can you start doing the task right now? This is likely the easiest question to ask but the one that gets skipped most often. Do you have what you need to take action? Do you have the tools, resources, approvals, and know-how? If you don’t, push the task aside for now and gather what you need. It’s a waste of time to start something only to find out that you can’t physically finish it. If you have what you need…well then it’s go time!
So, let me ask you. What are you focusing on right now? This blog, of course. But what will you focus on right after reading this blog? When you start your new task in a few minutes, can you answer “yes” to all those questions with confidence? If not, re-evaluate and see if there is something else you should be working on.
Treat your priorities, like you treat your closet. Don’t just say yes to every dress!
If you need extra help knowing what to say “yes” to, I’m your gal. I’ll be bringing you my top productivity tips to help you get back control of your time, accomplish more, and be present when you are done for the day.
You Got This! Sarah
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Hi, I’m Sarah
The productivity coach who creates programs for overwhelmed professionals who are ready to say buh bye to stress, anxiety, mental clutter, and analysis paralysis and hello to clarity, purpose, and success.
I bring systems and quick productivity wins to your day so that you can get back control of your time, accomplish more, and be present when you are done at 5.
Curious About Working Together?
Let’s chat! It’s completely free and I’ll give you my recommendations to improve your productivity system starting today!