blog 11.13

Its official.  NOvember is on.

What is NOvember, you ask? Well, last week on the blog  I talked about why we need to say no sometimes to make room in our lives to breath, enjoy, excel and say yes.

I received so much feedback from Mama CEOs who wanted to embrace NOvember along with me, but didn’t know where to start.

The idea of saying no is appealing, the idea of the space saying no would create is appealing. But how do you know what to say no to and how do you actually say no?

Well, we are going to talk about both here during November.

First, how do you figure out what you say no to?

Know Your Objectives and Priorities

If you are going to say no, you have to know what you are saying yes to. In other words, you have to know what your objectives and priorities are for any given time frame. This time frame can be this year, this month or even as small as this weekend. These can objectives can be really practical and specific or more holistic and based in feelings (or even both!)

You might decide that you really want to grow your list in the last quarter of the year. Growing your list becomes your filter which you put all your tasks through. Business tasks like ‘create new opt in offer’ or ‘pitch guest posts’ stay on the list and tasks like ‘redo about page’ or ‘learn how to use instagram’ get moved into another block of time.

You can also create a word or a feeling you want to be your objective. So, if your word for December is simplify, its not the time to agree to take on a new joint venture project or agree to chair the book fair.

You can even look at a short time frame like a weekend. You might decide this weekend is family only time, so you say no to working on your business and turn down a dinner invitation.

Or Maybe every Friday is a “no scheduled appointments” day. You use that time to plan, write, learn and generally just get caught up.

The Decision Triangle

Decision TriangleAnother way to know what to say no to is to create your own decision triangle.

The first time I was introduced to this idea of a decision triangle was from a graphic designer friend. He would present a triangle of options to clients that showed “quality,” “speed” and “price.” Basically you could pick any two options, but not all 3. So if you wanted something done well and on a budget, it would take longer to complete. Or if you wanted something done fast and perfect…it was going to cost more.

I have seen this decision triangle applied in many situations, but I have adapted it for me when it comes to making decision inside my business. For me, my 3 points are “Ease of completion (time and effort),” “Money earning potential” and “Enjoyment (and alignment) of project.” So, if I am presented with an opportunity from someone I love working with and it will be easy to complete…I’m am likely to donate my time. Or if something will pay well and I enjoy the subject matter, I will devote more time (or move other obligations) to accomplish it.

Your triangle can have any 3 points that are important to you. Your filter becomes; all projects must have at least 2 of the 3 points to earn a spot on your agenda.

Know How Much Time You Do Have

Overwhelm comes when your expectations don’t match your reality. So, thinking you’ll finish a huge project for your business the week your kids are out from school 4 of the 5 days (ahem…like I did this week) is not realistic and it leads to feeling frustrated or unproductive.

Your schedule is like a giant puzzle or a Tetris game. Once you know where you blocks of available time are and what your puzzle pieces are (based on your objectives) you can see how much time you have left to commit to other things. If you want to get your new website launched this week and the tasks add up to 10 hours of time, you need to make sure you have 10 hours available in your schedule.

And then, threat your time like budgeting money.  Once you decide to allocate 10 hours to launching your new website, that time comes out of your ‘budget.’ When someone asks you to attend an extra meeting for a school committee, your time budget may be used up.  You need to say no to that extra commitment, or you’ll go in debt (and a time debt ends up affecting our self care, but more on that later!)

But just how do you actually say no once you’ve made these decisions??

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post when I talk about exactly how to say no, by creating (and practicing) our “say no” phrases.