Today I want to share a very simple, yet very critical time-management skill that usually is underestimated.
But not having this skill can seriously sabotage your best efforts to get things done and to move towards your goals in life.
The skill I’m talking about is to say no — primarily in your mind — to everything that is not what you really want.
Sure there are a gazillion opportunities out there waiting for you to jump on them. There is so much information and advice waiting to devour your attention. And of course, there are dozens of things on your to-do list waiting to get checked off.
But what is the one thing that is all about you?
What one thing is expressing your core dream?
Saying no in your mind doesn’t mean becoming ignorant. Instead saying no helps to purify your mind. It clears the fog and makes space for what is more important.
Saying no means clarity. [Tweet this!]
This is just a word, but have you ever experienced how this really feels?
When you a 100% certain that this is it. This is the thing you want to do — nothing else. It’s a beautiful situation to be in.
It’s that kind of clarity that empowers you in every action you take.
Because you just know. You don’t have to think and ponder and search for new ways. You just know your way, and you just go it.
Of course, this presupposes that you also really know what you want. Otherwise, there would be confusion. Because there would just be a big question mark in that space where your BIG YES should be ;-)
What is Your Big Yes?
When we take a look at time management there are two fundamental questions for every single task:
1. Is this urgent now?
2. And is this really important to me? (as in your #1 priority)
Regardless of how you answer the first question, eventually you only want to spend your time on to-dos where you answer the second question with yes.
Time management often seems complicated. But at it’s core, it all comes down to this one single thing:
You only want to spend your time on what is really important to you. [Tweet this!]
This is the essence of clarity.
And it sounds easy, but in reality it’s not. Because in reality it can be difficult to distinguish between urgent and important.
Separate the Urgent from the Important
For instance we have everything that you say is important, but it’s not. That means there is a tendency in all of us to rationalize things to be important, when in reality they are either one of two things:
1) an escape (its really neither important, nor urgent)
2) an illusion (of importance, because it is urgent)
So when it comes to being productive in your working time (not necessarily in your spare time), you want to eliminate these two.
The first is what we call procrastination.
We know that we’re escaping, but we still do it somehow.
And the solution to this is to have a strong enough why. A strong reason, a goal that drives us forward — even through fear — because it’s so compelling.
And when you’re faced with a lot of tasks that are not important, but seem pressing, urgent… then it’s finally time for you to say no to them.
Imagine… if you could eliminate half of the tasks you have on your to-do list right now, by finally realising that these are actually not important to you.
1. Is what I do right now having a long-term impact for reaching my goal?
2. If yes, is this my #1 priority right now?