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Productivity & Organizing Myths Recap

Productivity & Organizing Myths Recap

Since the beginning of the year we have looked at 10 of the top Productivity & Organizing Myths. They have been collected, examined, and refuted so that you can recognize when your thinking or actions are moving into they mythical. Myths seldom serve you. Realizing you’re operating in the mindset of a myth can help you to change course to reality where results really come to the front and center.

Our top 10 myths are:

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Myths are sometime easy to agree with and sometime easy to embrace. They have a bit of reason so we say they have a ring of truth for a short time or a while. As a result we end up buying into non-productive thinking. And that can get us stuck. It can get us stuck with a distracting and cluttered office, calendar, and life. It can get us in habits that mess us up and have detrimental consequences on our careers by being late and missing deadlines. Acting according to these myths can stress us out and wreck our health.

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Operating according to some of these myths can make us feel popular, needed, and integral to a department or project or company. When our presence seems considered necessary at meetings we have a value that comes from no where else. It’s powerful to hear, “We couldn’t have done it without you.” And, we’re just not that important. If something would happen that prohibits you from contributing, the department, project, and company would have to carry on. They’d have to figure out what you were doing and how to get that done without you because the organization needs to carry on as it did before you got there. You might be replaced. You can be replaced. So, keep perspective.

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Reality: the anti-myths#1 – Being organized is a set of skills.#2 – There are many ways to stop paperwork and emails from flowing at you.#3 – I don’t have time to stay unpriortized.#4 – Handle things the minimum number of times but as many as it takes to stay productive.#5 – Standard operating procedures are the heart of productivity and using a tool well.#6 – It usually takes a long time to find things in your piles – that’s wasted time & stress.#7 & 8 – Getting organized takes time. A little time invested every day yields huge returns.#9 – We can get along quite well with fairly little stuff.#10 – We can find alternatives to being at a string of meetings every day.

Operate according the anti-myths and see your life become easier, streamlined, and yielding worthwhile results at work and home.

Susan Sabo is an intrepid traveler who has organized her life to be out of the country for months at a time. She’s visited South & Central America, Europe, Asia, ‘Down Under” and traveled across North America. Susan writes at www.productivitycafe.com, consults with professionals on improving their personal productivity and presents motivating productivity programs & tips to groups. The most popular presentation topic today is, How to Get Ready for the Busy Season.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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