I am really excited to talk to you about this today because this is something that never really goes away… it is one of those things, no matter what season you are in you will probably come to this point repeatedly. You don’t graduate from this. We all go through seasons of feeling like our schedules are out of control. You know the feeling of running from one thing to the next, when your schedule is too full or maybe you’re not planning your schedule but all your time is out of control. And the result of that is often giving the leftovers to your family or not giving the attention to your business. I bet some of you can relate.
And the question becomes, What are we doing? What do I do when I feel like my schedule is out of control? And it feels like my time is out of control, I’m not controlling it, it is controlling me. WHAT DO I DO? We have all been there and here’s the thing, I was literally doing an exercise in my journal to help me with this and I am going to walk you through it because it can change this into a feeling of empowerment instead of out of your control.
Um, cause I think we’ve all been there. And here’s the thing I want to tell you with full transparency. Sometimes these videos that I do, I don’t have to look too far for the comp content because this week, last week in my journal, I was literally doing an exercise that I’m going to walk you through in a moment, a very practical, easy to do exercise that can give you a sudden feeling of control, more clarity about what matters and what doesn’t matter. And I’ve done this exercise several times and led hundreds of people through this. Just about every time it brings a measure of clarity and sometimes a substantial new level of clarity.
Get a pen and some paper because I think you are going to want to take notes. It is a step by step process and if you are ready to take back control, take back your power… this is a step in the right direction! If you want to take back your power, you have got to be able to see clearly those everyday yes’s and everyday no’s. What we often forget is that we cannot keep saying yes, yes, yes, yes without rebalancing and putting something on the no list. I don’t know about you but I have coached and mentored enough people to know that most people are a lot better at saying yes than we are at saying no. And because of that we overload our schedules.
Let me walk you through this simple exercise, this is not original to me. Here’s a statement before we get started that my coach gave me a years ago, “Mark, every yes has to be paid for with a thousand no’s.” While I don’t know if it is a thousand, that might be an exaggeration. But maybe not because when we start saying yes and we start to prioritize things, you can see where we need to rebalance with some no’s.
Theoretically, you could be coming out of a pandemic and reading this, you could be coming into a new school year, a new calendar year… and thinking, HEY, what am I going to do? How am I going to bring balance to my time? So here’s the exercise:
By the way, this process does not compartmentalize your yes’s into business, family, and health goals… like this look is a whole picture look. THE. WHOLE. VERSION. OF. YOU. AND. YOUR. LIFE. Step one is making a list to everything you are saying yes to in your life right now:
Pretty much anything of substance that you are spending more than 30 minutes of your time doing on any given day is considered a yes, so list it. So really, what are you saying yes to, RIGHT NOW? It could be saying yes to cutting your grass and guess what… you could get back that hour by paying some neighborhood kid who can do it for 20 dollars. And really it could be close to two hours after you include taking a shower to get cleaned up afterwards. But that is how this process works, looking at your yes’s and turning some of them into a NO.
Hey what have you made an intentional decision to say no. Maybe you said no to a promotion. Maybe you said no to public school and you are doing homeschool. Maybe you said not to do something recently because the quickest way to change reality is to face reality. Maybe you’re saying no to a date night, kids’ extracurricular activities, no to hobbies that you love just to call someone, maybe it is saying no to hanging out with your friends or saying no to hiking even though it fills your tank… This is where you look at what you are doing and ask yourself and…
Look at everything you are doing, what you are saying yes to, what you are saying no to… and you have got to ask yourself, “what is serving me on this list?” and you are probably going to notice even before you do that, your Yes List is a whole lot longer than your No List. And that is why you need to go through and really ask yourself, do some reflection on whether it is a good yes in your life.
Make that new list so that you can take back control of your state and your time. And on that list you are going to put the most important things that get your time at the TOP OF THAT LIST. During the evaluation of what your lists look like, you might have crossed some stuff out and said, I’m not going to do that or maybe you circled some things that are really important and may have not been getting as much time as you would like. And I’m telling you, doing this process with pen and paper or a pencil is so much better than using copy and paste. It becomes about the cathartic process.
Through this process you might have noticed your health has been neglected and needs to go closer to the top of the list or maybe your marriage is hanging on by a thread because you’ve been saying yes to everything but your spouse. So maybe that needs to move to the top. Maybe your business has been getting your leftovers and while that is not most of you reading this because you are driven individuals who desire success and results… but it is possible that you have been focusing on small low level tasks instead of saying yes to the revenue producing activities that you can do better than anybody else: the spreadsheets instead of saying yes to having lunch with your top 10% clients.
So what do you do? What are you going to put at the top of the list. And then for every yes, remember it has to be paid for with a thousand no’s. So begin to put things on the No List. How do you move things from the Yes List to the No List, it is actually very simple: Delegate It. You can give it to someone else that can do it. Or there is a possibility that there is a yes on your list that doesn’t even need to be done. We all have those things that we thought we needed to do, someone expected us to do, or has always been done a certain way. Just eradicate that off the list and say it is never coming back on.
If you are really doing this the right way, you’re going to have to make some hard decisions. There will be sacrifice from the Yes List to the No List. This is not an easy process… if it is, you’re not doing it right. It should take some thought, some time, some reflections and some conversations. If you’re married conversations with your spouse, if you own a business a conversation with an employee, maybe a conversation with your employer.
Literally, I had a conversation with my team this week and I said, there are some things that need to go off my list and onto your list. These cannot be on my list any more because I have got some more important “yeses” that I need to give attention to. I’m going to delegate some things to them. For our team, this does two things: One, it increases our awareness and two it increases our intentionality. Truly, don’t just raise your awareness and not do anything about it, you have to be intentional about making your time count. Don’t just do good activities, do activities that leverage your life. The thing that is uniquely you for the greatest return for you, for your family, for the impact, for your calling, for your business. Do the right activity.
Now some of you might want to add a third list that my friend talks about. She calls it the parking lot, which is kind of the delay list. But some of you rather than having it take up space on your Yes List, it can go hang out in the parking lot to be taken care of at another time.
So make your lists: No, Yes, Parking Lot and then get international about doing the work. Are you willing to do this exercise this week to evaluate your Yes’s and No’s? You might have to say no to something else but it will be important and valuable work for you! I hope this serves you. If you do this and you actually execute what you’ve become aware of, it can free you up and GIVE YOU BACK YOUR POWER!!
This is where you get off and go out there and give your greatness to the world because somebody needs what is on the inside of you! Love you guys! Have an awesome week!!