Think about the last few times you said yes to a request that took you more than five hours to complete. How much time did you give yourself to make that decision? I have created a tool you can download below to help you determine the best use of your time. Download it now and follow along with these note and this podcast: Episode 2 of Career Strategies for Women that Work.
If you have goals that you hope to achieve in the next 18 to 24 months, download the worksheet above to use a tool will help you position for your next level of impact.
THE IMPACT OF TOO MANY YESES
Sure. Okay. Yeah. I can do that. No problem. How many ways do you say yes? How many things do you say yes to each day? For many women, all our yeses compromise us to be the person we want to be. If you want to have additional impact, you must take a close look at what you have said yes to and create space in your schedule to gain momentum toward the right things.
AN ENGAGED YES
Taking time out to assess your current situation and determining where you want to go often starts with what you say yes to, and I started to find answers when I began interviewing women that were five, 10, 15 years ahead of me. I asked them:
How do you decide what to do? How do you make sure you show up for your kids? How are you happy?
I remember one specific story from Kathy, who I interviewed for The Working Women’s GPS. She sat with her teenagers once a quarter and asked them for the three events that they wanted her to attend. She then put those three things on her quarterly schedule as non-negotiable. As a single, working mom, she knew she wasn’t going to be at every practice or game, but made time for the three most important things. To give yourself permission to not do it all, but to engage with those who matter most and find out what is most important to them.
Be sure to download the worksheet at the top of the page so as we move through the next phase of the podcast with actionable questions a chart that you can follow along.
What are my yeses? Are they aligned to what is important to me? Do I say yes too often? Are there things on my schedule that don’t belong? And am I scheduling my self-worth and taking care of myself?
What You Have and What You What You Want
What is important to you? Where do you want to focus your energy?
I break these down into four groupings or buckets: family, career, self-care and community. These do not need to be in any order. Your buckets may be different.
What are things that you want to work toward? What I say to most people is “You can have it all, you just cannot have it all at the same time.” So selectively picking where you want to throw your energy into one or two buckets is very healthy. Beyond that, you might be spreading yourself too thin.
Checking The Time
The easiest way to make time in your schedule is to understand where you spend time right now. Let’s get started on this six-column chart included in the worksheet you can download above to follow along.
THE POWER OF NO
This chart is called the Power of No because it gives permission to investigate the ask to determine if it is the best use of your time right now. No I hardly ever say, “No!” I often look through your network and reallocate the request to someone who might find it of interest.
When commitments do not make sense, or when you are overextended or overworked. Try listing and regularly sharing all your tasks, timelines and interdependencies with your boss or supervisor. Be brave and share how additional commitments could cause other priorities to lower.
In doing so, you may discover that other projects aren’t as much of a priority as other projects or requests. Yes, it can be uncomfortable at first, but if you continue to do it, you will help you get more focused on where to spend your time.
Hopefully, these two tools will help you get clarity on what you are focused on now and what you hope to do next and give you space in your schedule to add new commitments that align to where you want to have the next impact. Remember, as people ask for your time, be sure not to say yes too quickly. Do not fall on the stat of saying yes, in 10 seconds or less, anytime someone asks you for your time.
Asking these questions has given me even more control of my schedule and confidence in my life. They seem pretty simple, but they are not always easy. The exercises we reviewed today take a lot of practice. The more you prioritize your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them.
The one thing that I have learned time and time again is time is a precious gift. So don’t give it away to just anyone or anything.
So as we’re wrapping up, I just want to reiterate that this is a process. Still, I can assure you that if you continue to prioritize your goals and your schedule, not only will it increase your confidence, but it definitely will increase your impact. Until next time…