Monthly Archives: June 2014

Time Management: The Power of “No” vs “Yes”

????????????????????????????????????????24 hours a day. 7 days a week. That’s all we get. It’s finite.

How much do you value your time?

As I get older, I’m more aware that time really is finite. I can’t make more of it; I can only use what I have more wisely.

I used to think I could do it all.

I used to think that if someone asked me to do something, they really need MY help, not just help.

I used to think if someone asked me to join them at an event or to chair a committee, the request was an honor and privilege and that it would be rude to say “no.”

I don’t think that way anymore.

As a general rule, we are all people-pleasers. We want to say yes. We want to help out. We know our contributions will mean a lot to people. But, for every “yes” comes a commitment. It may not be much, but any “yes” takes precious time and energy that could be utilized another way. Time and energy that could be used to support our family, our faith, our job.

If you are already feeling overwhelmed and you can’t decide between “yes” and “no,” ask yourself the following questions.

1. Does this obligation fill you up? Does your brain say “I just can’t imagine NOT doing (insert obligation here).” It could be anything: a trip, a sporting event, serving on a committee, a new challenge at work.

a.  If you get excited just thinking about it, then “yes.”

b.  If not, then “no.”

2. Does this task have to be done?

a.  If it has to be done and you’re the only one that can do it, then “yes.”

b. If it doesn’t need to be done, and/or you aren’t the only one that can do it, then “no.”

3. Are you just doing just because you’ve always done it? Sometimes we are stuck in a rut, and we just don’t know how to back out of a perceived commitment. Let’s use the example of a Book Club. Maybe it doesn’t fill you up anymore, but people just expect you to participate. Chances are the Book Club will get along just fine without you and you will alleviate some stress and gain some time. Refer to #1.

4. Are you doing it just because people expect you to do it? Just because you’ve always run that report, brought in donuts, made that first pot of coffee, doesn’t mean you still have to. Possibly the report doesn’t need to get run, most of us certainly don’t need those donuts, and someone else can make the coffee. Refer to #2.

I say “yes” a lot.

I love the Therapy Dog work I do. When someone asks if I can come for a visit, I say “yes.” It fills me up.

I love helping my clients, even if they are hard to fit in my already-crammed schedule. I say “yes” more times than not.

I love taking my grandson when the kids have conflicting schedules. It’s not always convenient and sometimes I have to shuffle my schedule, but it’s always rewarding, so I say “yes.”

Saying “yes” can open us up to many great adventures, opportunities, and experiences, and that is wonderful. But, every time you say “yes” to a commitment that takes your time and energy and doesn’t fill you up, you may have to say “no” to something that would.

24 hours a day.  7 days a week.  That’s all we get.  It’s finite.  Use it wisely.

Cindy Jobs

Proud member of:

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), Seattle Area Chapter President

 ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteInstitute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD)

Do you send bad e-mails?


Did you ever send off what you believed to be the most fabulous, informative, and engaging e-mail, yet no one responded to it? Here’s a thought:

Maybe the e-mail wasn’t as effective as you thought it was.

Here are some tips to make e-mails more engaging:

Do you need to send it? This is the biggest decision you will make about an e-mail. Do you really need to send it or would a quick phone call or text suffice? If you need to provide or receive the information for documentation purposes, or it it’s too long or complex for other communication devices, send the e-mail. If you are trying to schedule lunch with a friend, don’t bog down their e-mail, pick up the phone.

Subject Line: The e-mail intent should be very clear in the subject line. Which subject line do you think will elicit a more timely response?

1. Subject: Agenda
2. Subject: Respond by 07/02: July Board Agenda Items

Hopefully you selected the second one which provides adequate information, without even opening the e-mail, to determine what needs to be done and in what time frame.

Conversely, if the e-mail is only intended to be informational, say so. Something like “Info Only,” “Joke,” or “Family Photo” in the subject line will let the receiver know it is something they can look at when they have some down time.

Keep it short and simple: The e-mail should only contain whatever necessary to assist the recipient in processing the information. As much as you may want to set the tone with pleasantries, don’t succumb to the “Hey there! Hope all is well with you. How was your weekend?“ verbiage unless the e-mail is truly intended to be conversational in tone and you actually want to engage in personal banter.

Do, however, provide sufficient background within the e-mail to assist the recipient in processing it effectively. If would like them to review a product or website, provide a hyperlink. If would like them to review a document, make certain you’ve attached it. Providing whatever information necessary to assist in the process will ensure a more timely response.

Make your close mean something: This is a good time to succinctly reiterate the intent of the e-mail and proactively thank the recipient for their anticipated action. “Thank you for submitting your agenda items by Wednesday, July 2nd, at 5:00 PM.”

Review before sending: Always, always review an e-mail before sending it. You can’t take back typos and bad grammar. Check the tone of the e-mail (did you come off as too demanding?). Ensure you provided everything the recipient needs to process the e-mail effectively.

We are continually bombarded with electronic messaging through our e-mail in-box. Make certain your e-mails stand out from the others by being relevant, succinct, and polite. Your recipients will thank you for it.

Cindy Jobs

Proud member of:

Member Color - Web

NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) Seattle Area Chapter President

ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website

Premium Subscriber, ICD (Institute for the Challenging Disorganization)