"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that are there. You have to pick carefully." -Steve Jobs
Priorities Activity: Write down a list of your priorities. Now pick the top 8. Next write down the top 8 things that occupy your time in a week. Then write down the top 8 things you envy in others. Finally, eliminate 2 items at a time until you are left with 10. And those are the priorities you should focus on.
Now that you know your priorities. How do we set boundaries? Some suggestions: time blocking, create a daily focus, and don't answer the phone just because it rings.
Boundaries in 7 Steps:
Why we say yes...
ALL of these are FALSE BELIEFS!
How to say no:
"I can't commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment."
"Now is not a good time as I am in the middle of something. How about we reconnect at (x) time?"
"Let me think about it first and I'll get back to you."
"This doesn't meet my needs right now, but I'll be sure to keep you in mind."
"I'm not the best person to help on this. Why don't you try (x)?"
It is a beautiful thing when your time is so organized that you know what you can do and when you should say no. It is important for those of us who are busy to recognize when we may be over committing our time. If you do not know where your time is spent and you take on too much, then you will not be giving your all where it is needed; it is a disservice to your clients, students, children, customers, family, etc. when you over extend yourself. When your schedule is clearly defined and you have your priorities, set then it is easier to say no.
Along these lines it is important to recognize that it is okay to say no. You do not have to do everything that is asked of you. Clearly set your priorities. Block out where you want/need your time to be spent and stick to it. It can actually be more rewarding when you say no because you know you are being true to your priorities.
Using a "Do Not Disturb" sign can be as effective as not answering the phone as long as the people around you heed it. The idea here is again that interruptions take up precious time. If your time is valuable enough; it will be worth it to not be disturbed during certain activities.
I use a "Do Not Disturb" sign when I am with my one-on-one clients so that people around my office know not to barge in (although my sign does not look like the one pictured to the right).
This concept of a "Do Not Disturb" sign is especially important with home based businesses where family tends to just walk in. This can be a hindrance to your productivity.
We have uploaded a special Time Managed "DO NOT DISTURB" sign that you can print and utilize HERE.