Prioritizing is a skill that you need to learn and train yourself to achieve.
This learning has many different areas but I would argue the hardest is saying no.
Saying no to things that are not going to help you achieve your goals is part of prioritizing in a grander way. It’s all about you learning what is worth your time and that if something is determined to not be worth your time you need to say no.
It’s not usually easy to say no especially when you are used to saying yes a lot but it’s a skill you can learn and you will feel better and more productive when you start prioritizing your days with a focus on what you WANT to say yes to.
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Also, at the bottom there is links to the other published parts of this “learn to prioritize” series. As new parts get added each part will get updated but to be the first to find out about new parts make sure to sign up for email alerts!
Step 1: your time is worth it.
Why is saying no a part of prioritizing? Because your time is worth it.
Prioritizing is the art of learning what is worth your time and what is the most important and efficient path towards completing everything that is worth your time. If you fall into the very common trap of feeling like others time is more important than yours is when this becomes a serious problem.
Your time is just as valuable as anyone else’s. And you need to treat it like that! I fully believe in helping others and striving to be a kind and caring member of society but there is a huge difference between being helping someone in need and letting people take advantage of your kindness!
My best advice: get a wall calendar and write down an outline of your month. Are you writing down things that aren’t worth your time? If you can’t change this month because you’re already committed that’s okay but work towards making sure next month has more time committed to what YOU WANT so you can achieve your goals.
Step 2: what will saying yes help you achieve.
Determining what you should say no to and what you should say yes to comes down to what saying yes helps you achieve.
This doesn’t always have to be a self-helping thing that it achieves. You can say yes to making cookies for your kids class because you love your child! But you can say no to making them for the 6th time because others complain. You need to really think about what saying yes takes out of your day and what it helps you achieve.
Keeping your goals in mind is very important for this step. Making conscious efforts to take action that helps you achieve your goals is so important.
If your struggling on a weekly basis to hit your goals then make sure you are taking advantage of a weekly to list (How To Write Weekly To-Do Lists + Free Template) that will help remind you throughout the week of what you need to accomplish. If saying yes to something additional doesn’t help you achieve what’s on your list and your goals then you probably should say no.
If you don’t prioritize what you say yes to then you will find yourself spending all your time on things that aren’t helping you grow!
Step 3: what could you do instead.
The last step to this is thinking about the time block you are saying no to and what you could do instead. This doesn’t always mean ignoring people in your life to go to the gym 7 days a week. It’s knowing when and how to balance saying no to things that are in time blocks that you could be doing productive things instead.
Lets say your mom calls and asks if you want to “hang out with her at her annual garage sale”
You know that means sitting in the hot garage for hours while she makes $4.52 the whole day. It’ll take up 7 hours on your Saturday.
7 hours you could instead spend: going to the gym, getting groceries, working on your home projects, etc.
Solution: you can’t just say no to your mom all the time (or maybe you can, totally up to you) so you can say “hey I’ll take you to coffee Sunday morning and you can tell me about your garage sale but I can’t commit to attending the sale this year”. No one feels ignored but now a 7 hour commitment is a 1 hour commitment.
Time is an expiring commodity. You only get 24 hours each day so make sure that in your day you are thinking about if a 2 hour happy hour is worth exchanging 2 hours working towards your goals!
My best advice: if you’re struggling to visualize your goals in these situations then write them down and make it visible. Get a wall press-on poster and fill it up with your goals. All of them, big and small! It’ll help you stay on the mindset of prioritizing your day to achieve your goals!
Other parts of the Learn to Prioritize series: