Not long ago, I made a simple “fix” in my business that immediately doubled (probably more) my productivity. This fix happened in 15 minutes and the effects were immediate: less stress, a clearer mind, more time to do important things.
I’ll tell you what the fix is in just a moment. First, I’m going to explain how I got into the mess that forced me to make a change.
How to Drown Yourself in a Sea of “Yeses”
I’ve never really been good at saying, “No.” In fact, if you look back through my life, a lot of the things I’ve invested my time, energy and focus in came as a direct result of my inability to say, “No.”
I allowed the world to drag me along as I tried to grant the requests of everyone around me. If you do this for too long, the effects can be rather disastrous. Eventually, you find yourself completely disconnected from what you want and where you’d like to go. There’s no space for you and your desires because you have given all of that space to others in exchange for what you feel is validation.
You can end up working extremely hard this way. But instead of building your own dreams, you are building the dreams of others.
It’s sad really, but it was the best I could do at the time. I was in “people pleasing mode” for much of my time on earth. That’s coming to an end now, thank goodness.
Taking the Pressure to Say “Yes” Off the Table
In my business as a direct response copywriter and publisher, I basically get paid to transform ideas into things that add real value to people’s lives. I get paid to think, I get paid to write, I get paid to create products and services that help others achieve a goal.
People talk a lot about money being an asset. In the big scheme of things, nobody’s leaving with money, so life pretty much comes down to how you spend your time while you’re here.
Time is the only real asset any of us get. Everything else is just made up.
That said, as a recovering “Yes Man,” it’s still pretty easy for me to allow things to get in the way of me doing what I’m here to do.
So steps must be taken to make sure I don’t fall into this trap.
One possibility is to “work on myself,” and to stop saying “Yes,” so much.
That’s a bit like asking a fish to “work on himself” so he can develop his “weakness” of needing water and finally start to live on the land.
Despite what all of the self-help books say, I think trying to change who you are is a mistake—and a misuse of energy. We’re not here to change who we are, we’re here to BE who we are.
Being gracious, open and helpful to others is actually quite valuable. So I’m not going to get rid of it. I just have to stop allowing that gift of mine to become self-sabotaging. I need to use it at the appropriate times only.
So rather than change me, I’m simply going to take the possibility of me doing stupid things to myself off the table.
Clearing the Way to Demonstrate Your Greatness
So that brings me to the “fix” I made that shot my productivity through the roof.
At this point, you might be underwhelmed when I reveal the fix. But the impact has been amazing. Both in how it affects the quantity of (important) work I get done AND in how it affects the quality of my life.
For me, the fix revolved around the telephone.
The biggest obstacle for me to do my important work has been the phone. I like talking on the phone. I like selling on the phone. I have consulting clients, I have customers, I have coaching clients and more.
We all use the phone.
Up until recently, my weeks were filled with scattered phone calls all over the place. I basically scheduled in constant interruption.
How did this happen?
It happened because the “Yes Man,” when asked for a phone appointment, tended to put the phone appointment above his other priorities.
No longer. I no longer have to worry about making this mistake. I’ve created a simple structure that takes the possibility off the table.
All of my phone calls are now grouped on two days a week. They are grouped at certain times. Everything is setup on a “self-service” system so clients can see what’s available and schedule their own calls. No more phone tag.
What this means is that I get 3 uninterrupted days per week to do the important work I’m here to do. It’s no coincidence that since I made this simple change, my productivity has soared.
For example, you’re reading this article weeks before you would have read it had I not made this change.
Success is not about being “busy,” it’s about getting the right things done.
Now for you, the phone might not be the issue. The way to find what is the issue for you is to ask yourself this question:
“What are the current activities, people, commitments in my business that are keeping me from investing more time doing my most important work?”
When you identify them, then ask yourself, “How could I change the way I go through life to remove those obstacles and prevent them from ever becoming an issue again?”
You are here on this earth to do amazing things. But it’s your responsibility to clear the way for getting that work done.[Ed. Note. Jason Leister is a direct response copywriter, internet entrepreneur and editor of the daily e-letter, The Client Letter, where he empowers independent professionals who work with clients. He has six kids and lives and works in the mountains of Arizona.]