Just Say No

Are you one of those people who says “yes” to every single thing someone asks you to do? It’s hard to say “no,” especially when the project sounds interesting (or the person asking is a bully). It sounds good (or we don’t want to turn someone down) so we say, “Yes!” But then another project comes along, and then another. And pretty soon we’re in way over our heads and we have no time for ourselves or to really focus on our passion.

Why We Can’t Say No

I think most people are afraid to say no for a couple of reasons:

1- We are afraid to miss out on an amazing opportunity.

2- We don’t want to let others down.

Why No is Necessary

Taking on everything all of the time is exhausting. You will burn out. The problem is that there will always be someone who wants to drop something on you so they don’t have to do it. So you need to start sticking up for yourself and for what you really want. What are your big goals, your dreams? If you want to have a super successful business doing what you are passionate about, you’re going to need to STOP doing a lot of the things that are preventing you from focusing on that. We can’t take on every project. When we try, the things that are most important to us (including our health) suffer the most. Not only that, but we run the risk of turning into a frazzled mess that no bride wants to hire.

How to Say No

Saying “no” doesn’t have to be painful. If you are someone who is afraid to miss out on an opportunity, think of the greater opportunity that will come from focusing on your passion and your ultimate goal (and know that other opportunities will come along). Recognize that many before you have sacrificed their own good stuff for the sake of the best stuff.

If you have a hard time turning people down, be honest and get creative. Tell them the project sounds awesome, but that you are choosing to be very selective about what you take on because your time is limited. (That should knock their socks off and encourage them to consider saying “no” more in their own lives.) If you’re up for it, take a moment and reach out to someone who would really love the opportunity. You help two people out and you don’t take on any new projects.

That’s Not All

It’s not enough to know how and when to say “no” to new projects. What obligations are already in your life that you need to say “no” to so that you can say “yes” to the best?

Best Time-Tracking Web Apps

Where does the time go? If you work from home, you’re all-too-familiar with that sinking feeling you get at 5pm (6pm, 7pm or 11pm) when you realize another day has gone by and you’re not totally sure what you’ve accomplished. Often, it’s not the obvious time wasters that suck your time, it’s those sneaky this-is-kind-of-productive activities that are the most sinister. After all, they aren’t unproductive, right?

If you want to take back your day and find out where the time goes, I’m going to give you three of my favorite web apps for tracking and managing your time.

 

Passive
RescueTime.com

This one is awesome because it’s totally hands-off. Once installed, RescueTime just hangs out in the background and tracks how much time you spend on different computer activities (and websites). There is a little bit of management on your end (you sometimes need to re-categorize activities), but for the most part, it’s “set-it-and-forget-it.” After a week, take a look at where the time has gone. I mean, facebook is great, but is it 20 hours a week great?

 

Active
SlimTimer.com

This sweet app is a skinny little timer you keep open all day to track how long each activity takes. It’s definitely more hands-on and the benefit here is that you have to consciously switch between activities, instead of just slipping into the blogworld vortex unawares. You can create your own categories so it’s very personalized. I recommend keeping it simple – sticking to, say, four categories. Maybe even the four quadrants from the self-development classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

 

Proactive
e.ggtimer.com

Once you have a good sense of where your time is going, you can take control of how you spend your time. This web app is simply a digital kitchen timer. The cool thing is that you can quickly set it by entering the amount of time after the url (for example, http://e.ggtimer.com/20min will take you straight to a 20 minute timer and starts the clock immediately). If you know that writing that blog article should take you 45-minutes of totally focused productivity, set the timer at e.ggtimer.com/45min and get crackin’!

These are my top picks. I hope you find them helpful as you take back your day. Remember that to make the most of your day, you need to sacrifice the good to focus on the great – those super-effective tasks that make you money and grow your business. Please share your favorites and how else you keep the day from slipping away.