Learn to Say No to Help Manage Your Time

Young woman messaging with smartphoneSay, “No.” No to being all things to all people; no to driving yourself crazy to get it all done and no to beating yourself up when you miss the mark of Wonder Woman.

Let’s be clear, Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, is a comic book character, and even she didn’t have it all. She wasn’t married, didn’t have children and seemed to put in a regular 40-hr work week in an administrative position. It was easy for her to save the world, always look great and have time to fly her invisible plane to visit Mom whenever she wanted. Diana only answered to herself.

You are different. You have a husband, children, a management position with questionable staff and a seemingly never-ending list of to-dos, appointments and obligations, with coordinating colored post-it notes on a wall calendar in the kitchen. Even Diana would have a hard time with your life.

The first thing you do is complain about the need for another hour in your day. The truth of the matter, you would fill that hour with new things, not spread out your current list. I surmise it’s not the amount of hours in the day, rather, what you do with those hours.

These are some simple steps to get your time under control.

1. Every Sunday evening or Monday morning, look at the rest of the week and cross of all extraneous activities. If you have to rationalize an activity, then it isn’t critical. When you’re finished, the calendar should only list those things that are critical to life, health and home.

2. For the critical activities left on your calendar, add a 5-10 minute cushion at the end of each one. Murphy and his dang-blasted laws will get you every time. Building in some padding reduces the stress and keeps you from getting behind as the day progresses.

3. After you’ve added the padding, you can put three activities back on your calendar. This will force you to prioritize and focus on what is truly important to you, your family and your employer.

Remember, time is the only resource we can’t recoup once it’s expended, so use it wisely.

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About the Author:  Shannon Mouton leads the marketing and digital efforts for McKinney & Associates. She is a relationship marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience. She is a regular contributor to Women Grow Business and Voices Matter and has been featured on the Digital Sisterhood Network and American Express OPEN Forum.

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