If you find you’re not getting enough accomplished each day, or feel overwhelmed on a regular basis it’s probably not a matter of saying “yes” more but a matter of knowing what to say “no” to so that you can make your “yeses” count.
Since 2007, I have been fortunate enough to interview over 2000 of the World’s Highest Achievers, and I have discovered many commonalities among these high achievers that keep them at the top of the mountain.
What makes achievers what they are?
One of the biggest commonalities is that most of the highest achievers know what to say “no” to and they take action in saying no when necessary. Once that’s done, the yeses’ work themselves out.
I share these findings with audiences regularly and one of the most common statements I hear is, “well, that’s easy to do once you’ve reached a certain level of success”.
The fact is that if you want to reach that level of success sooner, you have to start saying “no” now – to the things you shouldn’t be spending the majority of your time doing, that is.
Understanding what really matters
Notice I said, “say no to the things you shouldn’t be spending the majority of your time doing”?
In other words, I’m not saying you should turn down certain business that you need, or stop prospecting if it’s what is currently growing your business. I’m also not saying that you should say you’re too busy to meet with a certain prospect if you’re not just so that you can appear more important than someone or appear busy.
What I’m suggesting is that you have to determine the difference between your real A priorities, and your C priorities, and then find ways to place more focus on your A priorities and less on your C priorities.
If you don’t already write out your priorities each day, and track your time to see how you’re currently spending it, that is where you should start.
But assuming you do already write out and rate the priorities of your tasks, here is what you need to know.
Most people spend 80% of their time on their low (C) priorities, the ones that don’t move the needle forward, and 20% of their time on their high (A) priorities, and I believe this is one of the key reasons most businesses fail in the first 3 to 5 years – I’m simply suggesting you change your paradigm if you want to join the top 5% who gets more done with the same amount of time available.
Just remember though, in a world where personal and business time are often interchangeable, an A priority to you may be a C priority to someone else and vice versa – so it’s truly up to you to determine which is which.
For some, career priorities trump all else, for some family priorities do.
As an example, we recently interviewed popular Canadian Comedian Gerry Dee, and he shared that he booked a show on Halloween when his daughter was just 2 years of age. He discovered after the show that for him, his real A priority was taking his daughter out for Halloween, and he has since decided that he would never book a show on a special occasion like that again.
The key thing is this – once you start saying “no” more often to the things you shouldn’t be spending your time on, and yes more often to the right things, you’ll find that you have more time for the things that matter in all parts of your life, that you will have become more productive, and that you’ll feel less overwhelmed in the process.
Until that time, here it is to your greater success.