It’s not a productivity issue. It’s a ruthless prioritization issue. Progress is saying NO to 1,000 things. THE most powerful question to stop overwhelm:
“𝘈𝘮 𝘐 𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 No 𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩?”
Steve Jobs famously said “I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
He was right. You can’t spell “innovation” without “no.”
If you want to progress right now, you need to say no. A lot.
As a business adviser, I’ve seen the topic come up several times this week alone. And I’ve got a fix for you.
This week was full. Amongst all the other things that filled my schedule, I (virtually) say down with several business owners and discussed the goals, challenges, and projections.
I spoke with a clothing manufacturer in Europe.
I spoke with an events coordinator in Latin America.
I spoke with a mama who does part-time marketing work in Nevada.
They each had a common problem: OVERWHELM.
Everything is barking for our attention right now.
It costs a lot to be you right now. The demands are greater, the stakes are higher.
What do I do now?
Let’s get practical and bring that overwhelm under control. How? Do this:
Create a Yes – No – Parking lot List and start putting your business and life on the list.
We need to follow Derek Sivers’s years-old advice now more than ever
“If it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a no.”
Let’s talk through the mechanics.
I’m old school, so I love a notebook paper folded lengthwise with Yes in one column—list all the things you are saying hell Yes to in that column.
In the other column is your No list. This is where I want you to put your focus. Add to it, and then add some more. Then on the back of the notebook page is the Parking lot list for things that you aren’t ready to say no to or want to revisit later (for those non-committal types that shy away from binary decisions, I see you…)
Don’t be skimpy with the NOs. Toss it like candy at a parade.
- Reviewing the marketing plans before they go out. Could you team handle it?
- Revamping your CRM. Is now the best time?
- Launching another product line when you haven’t full explored your existing one.
And this part is bonkers, but works.
You don’t need to limit yourself to simple tasks. You can also put emotions on there, such as overwhelm, guilt, and resentment. Feelings that are riding shotgun for many on decisions where they shouldn’t.
What goes on your No list gets removed from your schedule and your mental real estate. It no longer gets to occupy valuable space in your brain.
So, those clients I spoke to this week: they weighed in on what made it on their No lists. Here are some real examples of what they told me:
- “I unsubscribed from many emails.” I’d like to think they didn’t mean mine…
- “I canceled a weekly Zoom call with a colleague.”
- “I delayed the launch of a new software product.”
- “I quit on a vacation that was trying to be salvaged against all odds.”
- “I gave up feeling powerless of the market, and decided I’d make some changes.”
- “I won’t be mailing out Christmas cards.”
There was a collective big hard No to all of these things from my clients. The simple act of writing these things on their No list created visible relief in their tiny Zoom faces.
It was unmistakable and powerful.
Now it’s time to do your own list.
Need some inspiration for what should be on your No list? Look at what you have planned this week. What about next week? How much of it is truly essential?
Give yourself some room to breathe with your No list. Enjoy the relief of saying NO from the mountain tops like a scene from the Sound of Music. She knew what was up.
As the saying goes, we must protect our Yeses with a thousand Nos.
What are you saying NO to this week?
- Create your Yes – No – Parking lot List. And feverishly fill in that No column. Make it a mile long.
- As one of my clients suggested, at the end of the workday ask yourself, “Did I say No to enough things today?”
And if you need a hand making this a reality, let’s talk. I help business owners like you to stay productive and move past overwhelm. Get in touch. We’ll get you there.
This concept was taken from PivotMe’s Module 4 of my digital course MultiplyMe™ How to get 3x the work done, in less hours a day.
This article first appeared on April Garcia’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-your-small-business-needs-wheel-april-garcia-mckeegan-/