I think we are almost preconditioned to want to say “yes”; we want to please people, we want people to like us, we want to feel included and needed. So when people ask us for a meeting, we say yes, when they ask if we can help, we say yes, when they ask us for a coffee, we say yes … when they say “Can you *just* (fill in the many appropriate blanks) we just say … yes.
I’ve always believed in the 80/20 principle and remember reading Robert Koch’s book and it inspiring a pivotal change in my thinking (reading great books have a tendency to do that) . It made me see not just business differently, but also time. I started to realise that actually for me, all time was not created equal. In the same way that the principle highlights that 80% of your income typically comes from 20% of your clients. I also think 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of your actions and equally 80% of your happiness comes from 20% of the things you do.
Therefore every time we say yes to something we aren’t really engaged with, that we don’t really want to do, we are taking time away from saying yes to the things and people we love. There are only 24 hours in any given day and even if you only sleep for 6 of them (which I don’t recommend) by the time you’ve finished faffing around, commuting, checking email and daily life, you won’t get much change out of 12 productive hours.
Think carefully about how and with whom you want to spend those hours.
Action: Stop saying yes to things out of guilt or a sense of misplaced responsibility and start saying no to things you don’t have the time or desire to do. This will give you the time and space to say yes to the people and things that make you happy and bring meaning to your life and business.