One day about 6 years ago I decided to start saying no. Sometimes I wonder if it was some subconscious preparation for children or maybe I was doing what I saw all my mentors do. Either way, I did it. I said no…..and I did it again and again and again.
Not so long ago I went to an office Monday through Friday. With my blue suit, parking spot, electronic key cards, offices and cubicles, kitchens and lunch service. With 15 employees reporting to me, all accountable for 25 clients. I would run from meeting room to meeting room, often taking my lunch with me at 10am, knowing I would not be back in my office until 3. I can remember feeling so tired going in and out of work, running around after employees, eventually only to do the job they were being paid for. I kept it together, but was barely surviving. Eventually I broke and finally discovered what I was doing wrong.
If you relate to where I was at, keep reading, as you are right where you should be. My experience has shown that every new, eager manager, ready to take on more responsibility and start raking in the money, does whatever it takes to make it happen. Including the complete micro management strategy of doing your employees jobs. Something I swore I never would do.
Doing everything for your employees, as a caretaking mother would do upon a spoilt child does not work. It coddles an employee and destroys having any type of
successful management relationship. It is exhausting and makes you question why you went into management in the first place.
Say no. Say no to doing it and no to the employees who ask. No to the vendors that need you to sign now and no to Bobby’s soccer team wanting you to cater lunch at Saturdays game. Say no to an employee who wants to ask now and no to the client that needs some extra help on Saturday. Say no to your inbox that is filling up and no to the inspection report.
Ok, sorry, I just lost my mind their for a moment. You can’t just say no forever and everything will go away, however starting to understand that you and only you will protect your schedule and life needs to start now.
Controlling Your Schedule
This can be a bit tricky. Expecting yourself to just “stick to a routine” doesn’t work. How can it when you have a moving, shifting, highly accountable position? One that has more unexpected than expected?
Find a good set of scheduling systems and tools that work for you. I personally enjoy Google Calendar, being able to access on any device, including my phone, allows me to always have it. This is one easy way to ensure you manage a schedule well. Accessibility is half the road to success.
Using your calendar, schedule your accountability. Learning what must take priority over other things takes time. Start by booking meetings for everything that needs to consume your time, even if these are meetings with yourself. Seeing the reality glaring back at you is all it takes to recognize why are why not you are getting things done. If you have to reschedule a meeting with yourself, you do it.
What To Say No To
This is going to be unique to each one of us, as our priorities are different and goals vary. Wait a minute…Did I just say priorities and goals?
If you don’t know where you are going, you sure as heck don’t know how to get their. So, engaging with strategies such as annual planning, budgets, marketing production calendars and sales goals allow you to ensure that using your time helps deliver those goals. Whether it is meetings, training’s, mentoring, manufacturing plant visits or inventory counts; you say no to what is going to keep you from success.
When You Get to Say Yes
So, when do you say yes to those things that still need attention but are imperative for the success of a monthly, quarterly or yearly goal? When you have the time, space and energy for it.
When you actually get ahead of your business, there is a spaciousness that allows for the random yes. It is only until then, you and your business have achieved gold level status and are lucky enough to do more work. Wait a minute, is this a trick? More time=More work? Maybe I will use that yes for more life, as opposed to more work and save business work for another day.