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Guarding your time

Sometimes you just have to say no.

“You’ve gotta keep control of your time,” Buffett says, “and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.”

via: Why Productive People have empty schedules7257866398_07cf38a28d

Over the past couple of months I have taken on a new role, one which currently demands a lot of face to face meetings with stakeholders of various projects. As a result it has been tough to get the other parts of my job done, and in some weeks it felt like all I was doing was bouncing from meeting to meeting without a chance to catch up, there have been a lot of people vying for my attention. Recently, the most successful weeks from a productivity perspective have been those when I have been stingy with my time.

We are not taught to say “no.” We are taught not to say “no.” “No” is rude. “No” is a rebuff, a rebuttal, a minor act of verbal violence. “No” is for drugs and strangers with candy.

via: Creative People Say No



But no is necessary. Without saying no, your day could get broken up into useless chunks. This week I instructed my administrative assistant to not book any meetings without a fight, and to offer several alternative means of achieving the same result before agreeing to a meeting. I strongly suggest that anyone who organizes meetings reads the book – Read This Before Our Next Meeting:

In a world with fewer meetings, we’d have more time for our real work, the work we do that actually propels our organization forward. The work we do that makes a difference to our company, to the customers, or to our shareholders: the programming, designing, selling, writing—the art.

There will always be meetings, but being strategic about how you allow your time to be occupied will give you more time for the real work. In the municipal world as with any other endeavor, there is limited time in each day to complete an almost infinite number of tasks and projects. Guard your time to ensure that you can meet corporate goals, objectives and deadlines. Sometimes this means saying “no”, or offering a time for a meeting that meets your schedule.

When you do have to attend meetings, you can always learn some techniques over at Manager Tools.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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