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’No’ is the New ‘Yes:’ Four Practices to Re-prioritize Your Life

| April 24, 2012

by Jim Bruce

Anna Biggers, ITLP alum from University of Oklahoma, suggested today’s reading –  “’No’ is the New ‘Yes:’  Four Practices to Re-prioritize Your Life”.  Tony Schwartz is author of this article, which appeared in the Harvard Business Review blog last January.  He is president and CDO of The Energy Project.

Schwartz notes that we all have back-to-back meetings, more email than we have time to answer, people who just need a minute or “30,” and fires to put out.  So, too often we default to “Yes” without stopping to reflect on whether the request aligns with our priorities or is even on our list. 

In doing this, we mistake activity for productivity, more for better, and we ask “What’s next” far more that “Why this?”  Giving ourselves the option to say “No” requires that we give ourselves time to collect ourselves, refuel and renew, and make conscious course corrections that ultimately save us time when we plunge back into the fray.  

Schwartz suggests four practices that serve a better prioritized and more intentional life:

1.  Schedule in your calendar the “important but not urgent” tasks.  If it’s urgent, it will get done.  If it’s neither, it won’t.

2.  At the end of the work day, schedule time, perhaps 15 to 20 minutes, to take stock of the day and decide the most important tasks for the next day.

3.  Do your most important thing at the beginning of your day. That’s when you will have your highest energy.  Arrange to work uninterrupted for a full 90 minutes.

4.  Take at least one real break in the morning and the afternoon;  and get away from your desk at lunch.  Each of these will serve to renew your energy and give you a few moments to reflect and plan.

Perhaps you’ll want to take time to think about whether these practices would help you in managing your work life.


.  .  .  .    jim