I live the real world and sometimes I have to say Yes.

Our focus this week has been on prioritising and in particular how to say No, but in the real world, the one you and I live in, sometimes we must say ‘Yes‘ however much the task doesn’t fit into our goals.

Yesterday I had to say Yes to something that I had no control over and certainly wasn’t moving me towards me goals. Nothing I could do. Broadband went out or dropped or whatever the technical term is. I was in the midst of writing the update on how working with or for someone who is nice can be a bit of a problem. I can assure you at that very moment in time I had no intention of being nice to BT.

So, I had to down tools and get on with something else. And a trip to the supermarket beckoned. I live in a sleepy Sussex town which hasn’t any police or traffic so a quick trip to the supermarket is usually just that, a quick trip. But not yesterday. The traffic induced a flashback to the hours I used to spend on the M25.

I had to say ‘Yes’ to these situations and whilst I don’t imagine that you are thinking about broadband outage or traffic as your yes moments, we all have them. The question is “how often and how many things in a day, in a week, in a month do you have to say ‘Yes’ to ?” and crucially “how much of your time does it take up?”

In the many years that I’ve been working with people on their time management skills there are two questions that have earned me some very blank looks, from almost everyone that I’ve asked.

The questions are.

a.    How much time, each day, do you spend on work that you can’t say No to?

b.    How long does each task that you do take?

For our purpose, today I’m not going to talk about b. except to say, how can you manage yourself to make the best use of your time if you don’t know how long work takes?

But with a. you need to do this. Once you know the answer then plan that amount of time into your day.

Put it in your diary.

If you don’t need it then great, and if you do you’ve planned for it. Sometimes you will need it and sometimes you will need more than you have planned for. But so few people plan for interruptions, which is the category this type of work comes into, and it stresses us out. So, if you can’t do anything about it, you can’t say No, then take control and plan it into your day.

Next week I’m continuing on prioritising and how effective Delegation will support you. See you then. Have a great weekend saying Yes to all the lovely things that come your way and practising saying No to anything else.

Bridget Marchi is a learning and development consultant, executive coach and mediator. With over 25 year’s experience in publishing and online fashion she is passionate about working with people to develop strong foundation skills that will support them through their career. Whilst she has extensive experience of delivering classroom style she now offers online learning options with The Time Management ToolBox and Steps to Success, a self-coaching programme for long term success (click the link to get the early bird offer of just £20 – less than half price). She has also published The Management Jigsaw, a management induction course in a book. www.whatdoesamanagerdo.com