by Michael Holland    

Focus, focus, focus.  Focusing is difficult in today’s world with so many distractions and opportunities to multi-task.  But when does multi-tasking become ineffective?  When will you hit the overload critical mass point?  At what point is your productivity decreasing?

Just say NO!

  • No to that extra project.
  • No to reading every email as it hits your inbox.
  • No to playing referee for your employees’ never- ending complaints about each other.
  • No to staying late on Wednesday night when you’ve promised your family you’d be home before dinner.
  • No to debates on the likelihood of future layoffs which are out of your control.
  • No to picking up that laptop at 9:30 PM to just check a few emails.

How about saying YES!

  • Yes to an 8 minute siesta – eyes closed, draining your brain of thoughts
  • Yes to reviewing your daily plan so you’re investing your time in appropriate activities.
  • Yes to leaving 13 minutes early on Wednesday night to make sure you’re home before you’re expected.
  • Yes to leveraging coaching moments for your employees as they arise.
  • Yes to managing your meeting times to 22 minute increments.
  • Yes to delegation – down, across and up.
  • Yes to reading something different – an article from People Magazine, a children’s book, the bible, your 6th grader’s social studies text book.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, says . . .

“most of us lead busy but undisciplined lives.  We have ever-expanding “to do” lists, trying to build momentum by doing, doing, doing – and doing more.  And it rarely works.  Those who build the good-to-great companies, however, made as much use of “stop doing” lists as “to do” lists.  They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.”

You have the authority and power to say NO to one thing and to say YES to something else; so what real decisions will you make today?

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Which NO item resonated most with you?  Why is that?
  • Share the YES list with a peer manager and talk through which YES would mean the most to you this week
  • Personalize the list:  create you own NO and YES list on a Post-It note and stick it to the back of your mobile phone.