We live in a very competitive world, very fast, really hyperconnected … Through the phone, WhatsApp, social networks, email … we are all more accessible than ever. People easily contact us to present us a magnificent offer of mobile communications and fiber optics, an interesting proposal for the renewal of some of our insurance, a new professional project, they invite us to give a talk, they make us a job offer, they offer us a new course to improve our skills …
In addition, our entire environment constantly requests our attention. Workers, clients, suppliers who want to meet with you, students who want your advice, relatives who want to chat with you, your children who need you to help them with their homework … even our pets constantly demand our attention.
And in this environment that demands our attention, either you learn to “say no”, or all these distractions will devour you. The most successful people know how to “say no” … without feeling guilty.
Jim Collins, American author, said in his outstanding book “Good to Great” that people have to start making lists of “things to stop doing.” For most people, it is easier to make lists of things they want to do. Now, your time is limited, so either you start eliminating activities from your life or you won’t be able to do everything. In this sense, email and your mobile phone are two great robbers of your attention. I suggest you think carefully about which emails you want to be copied and which ones you don’t. Use technological tools that allow you to automate your email management. Filter delegate some emails to people you trust. Also think about who you give your phone number to, if you disconnect or divert it at times. Also review your social networks, they are a great “time robber”. Does it make sense that you are in so many networks? Can you automate some processes? Review and rethink your online activity.
At a time like today, you must learn to “say no.” The big winners say not on many occasions. They understand that “saying no” is equally acceptable to saying yes. Along these lines, Jack Canfield – a very successful coach and writer – strongly recommends creating mandatory “policies” or norms. Both personally and professionally. That is, affirmations and rules of “I never …”, “I only do …”. Take time to think about your rules … and then stick to them. Either you are clear about your priorities and you make them into rules that clearly govern your professional and personal life, or it will be difficult for you to say no and therefore fulfill your own objectives.
Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, was clear on this. He said that “The art of leadership is” saying no “, not saying yes, because saying yes is very easy.”
Great leaders know how to “say no“, it is essential to lead others … and to lead your life. If you are not clear about your goals, you will end up working for the goals of other people.
In the end, all of us, as people and as human beings, want the same thing. We want to have more time, more freedom, more energy, earn more money … and it will only be possible if we start SAYING NO. As soon as possible.
Because as Steve Jobs said, “Just by saying no, you can focus on the really important things”.