The train came…
I hopped on it and never looked back.
The NO train.
I Was Burnt Out Until I Followed The Advice Of Some Of The World’s Most Productive People
About 2 years ago, I got burnt out. I gave speaking engagements all over the country. I appeared on every interview show I could find. And I always had meeting after meeting after meeting.
And I told my friend Marie Forleo how I felt, and she gave it to me straight: “it’s time to hop on the no train.”
I now say no to almost everything.
AN EMPTY CALENDAR!
And most important – I actually GET THINGS DONE.
But you can’t say “no” to everything.
So, in this video, I’ll share why I keep my calendar empty – and when (and why) I make an exception.
How Saying No Will Change Your Life
I see this happen all the time…
New business owners think that to get ahead, they have to keep saying yes.
They think the more meetings they schedule and the more networking they do, it will skyrocket their business. Plus, they want to be generous with their time and helpful to others, which is great…
But then they get stuck. They stretch themselves so thin that they don’t have time to work on the most important parts of their business.
When I realized I was doing the same thing in my business, I made a big change. And it really paid off.
I’m Derek Halpern, and you’re watching Social Triggers, the place entrepreneurs and executives learn to get ahead in business and life.
And in this video, I’ll share what I did and why. Plus, I’ll give you some tools you can use to stay focused.
Back in 2012 and 2013, I was busy. I was meeting with new people almost everyday and doing several speaking engagements each month.
And while my business did well and revenue increased, I knew I wasn’t performing at the top of my ability.
When I looked at how I was spending my time, I realized that only about 10% of it led to any real business growth.
Those chance meetings I felt like I’d be an idiot for missing out on almost never resulted in anything worthwhile. I was wasting my time instead of spending it on the most important things that would actually grow my business.
And that’s when I decided to do something extreme…
I decided to give a hard no to anything that didn’t directly relate to and help with whatever I was focusing on right now.
That means no meetings, no speaking engagements, no interviews, nothing.
And sure, maybe I missed a connection or two that could have led to an opportunity down the line…
But the bottom line is that I already had a list of things to do that I wasn’t doing. And I needed to focus on that first.
Now, I’m not telling you that you have to lock yourself up in your office and say no to everything if you want to accomplish any real goals.
But I am trying to show you the importance of taking back your calendar and focusing on your most important work – whether that’s getting new subscribers, creating a new course, or writing the sales copy for your new product.
And I’m not the only one who thinks this way.
Fast Company shared a story about how, when Warren Buffett first met Bill Gates in 1991, he encouraged him to keep his calendar empty.
“You’ve gotta keep control of your time. And you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.”
Steve Jobs is another example. He was known for his laser focus. I read in Business Insider that Jony Ive, Apple’s head of design, said, “Steve was the most remarkably focused person I’ve ever met in my life.”
And what Steve Jobs said about focus is spot on. He said:
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”
And that’s what you have to do when it comes to deciding how you’re going to spend your time. You can waste it on endless meetings or you can focus it on the doing the important work in your business.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Okay. I get it. But how can I decide what to say yes to? And what to say no to?”
Well, don’t worry. I’ve got three tips for you that you can start implementing immediately.
First, and I said this earlier, you need to:
Say No To Almost EVERYTHING That Doesn’t Directly Affect What You’re Working on Right Now
I know this seems harsh. But if you’re looking to build something meaningful, then you have to do it. Don’t let anything distract you from your number one goal.
I did this in 2014 because I was focused on building new products. And in one year, I was able to turn my 1-product company into a 4-product company.
If I said yes to several speaking engagements each month… If I said yes to every interview that came my way… If I said yes to every dinner… If I said yes to every personal engagement…
There’s NO WAY I could have accomplished this much in a year.
You see, we all get caught in the “Fear of Missing Out” trap. We don’t want to miss a big opportunity. We don’t want to miss a valuable connection.
But Richard Branson said it best:
“Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always another one coming.”
Schedule Time With Yourself
This one is HUGE. And it’s actually something I’ve just recently started doing.
Believe it or not, I used to not work so smart. I’d wake up, do what I felt like doing for the day, and that was it. I wasn’t being strategic with my time and it affected my productivity.
Now, when I want to work on something on my to do list, I add it to my calendar. I block off time to work on just that task.
I’ve found that doing this really helps me to get the stuff done I need to get done without distraction. And you should start doing that, too.
And finally, I realize that it’s not realistic to say no to everything. You need some meetings. But the trick is to…
Have A System In Place For How And When You Schedule Those Meetings
For example, I save Friday for my meetings day. This way, I have four full days open for me to focus on more important work.
And, if something needs my attention earlier in the week, then it has to wait until after 5:00pm.
Those are my rules. And creating a similar system will allow you to keep full control over your calendar so that things don’t get out of hand.
But you don’t have to follow my rules. You can make rules for yourself – and that’s fine, too.
So, to quickly recap. You need to take control of your calendar, and here are three ways you can do it:
1. Say no to almost everything that doesn’t directly affect what you’re working on right now.
2. Schedule time with yourself.
3. Create a system for how and when you schedule meetings.
Now, I have a question for you:
Do you find these tips helpful? Which are you most excited to implement?
Leave a comment and let me know.
Also, if you know anyone who struggles with always saying yes, pass along this video! You’ll be helping them out and me out, too.
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