Just Say No

Just Say No

setting boundaries at work“I didn’t have enough time.” How often have you heard people blaming their failures on a lack of time? Maybe you even do it yourself. It’s not time that’s the issue though—it is a failure to prioritize and set boundaries.

Try these strategies to get control of your day.

  • Always ask yourself, “Whose job is this?” Just because you can solve a problem doesn’t mean you should. In order to be really present for what you are doing, you must be selective about what you choose to take on.
  • Email can be a good tool for sharing information. But unless you’re specifically asked a question, don’t respond. If you’re high up on the food chain, everyone will think they need to respond back. And if you’re cc’d, the sender is merely informing you, not asking for input.
  • Butt out. “I see a lot of peers insert themselves in all sorts of activities where it’s probably not necessary. That either indicates they don’t trust their teams to work independently, or they think they’re so central they have to be involved in everything,” says technology executive Kristin Muhlner. “I think I’ve failed if I haven’t empowered my team to accomplish what they need to on their own. When I was consulting, I learned quickly that everyone is replaceable. The circle closes quickly when people leave. Once you start to realize that, it lets you step away from feeling like you have to be the center of every decision.”
  • Set reasonable expectations. Don’t say yes to every project—it’s a dangerous mentality to get into. If what others are asking of you makes sense for your position, by all means take it on. But many people who say yes to everything are more invested in saying, “Yes” than considering whether the project makes sense given their role.
  • Show up prepared to work. Sleeping four hours a night and wearing it as a badge of honor is misguided and short-sighted. Sleep deprivation affects decision-making and mood. It’s also impossible to focus if you’re just plain worn out.

Setting boundaries and prioritizing will give you the time you need to accomplish your goals.

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