YOU DO YOU
Just Say “No”
Imagine what would happen if you said “no” more often.
Would you have more time? Would you focus more on your true priorities? Would you retain even more of your invaluable sanity and wellbeing?
Mmmmhmmm. That’s what we thought. Here’s how to say “no” with finesse—and without ruffling feathers and hurting feelings.
The approach: Stop saying “yes” automatically.
We all want to be agreeable and helpful. As a result, we default to robotically saying things like “No problem!” or “Of course I can help you with that” to requests, whether or not taking them on actually makes sense.
What to say instead? Darius Foroux recommends, “Let me get back to you.” That way, you don’t reject the request point blank, but you also buy yourself more time to consider if you can or should take the task on.
The approach: Focus on the positive side of saying no.
So many of us are afraid of saying “no” because it gets such a bad rap. We think it makes us seem mean or un-accommodating.
The approach: Use your priorities instead of your emotions to make decisions.
Define and document your priorities. When you get a request, screen it through these priorities. If the request doesn’t align, then you’ve made your decision.
The approach: Deploy a “no, but” to soften the blow.
Suggest an alternative course of action or idea. Make it clear you’re unable to take on the task but that you are willing to do something to help with it.
TOGETHER WITH ERC ASSISTANT
“You’re Such a Badass, Thank You!”
— Your CEO
Why in the world would your CEO call you a badass, you ask?
🔥 Here’s a hot tip…
You could be the one that tells your CEO that your company qualifies for a $26,000 per employee IRS grant, through the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Program.
Heck, most companies don’t even know about the ERC, and others that have heard about it don’t think they qualify.
🙅🏻♀️ Don’t make this mistake. Be a badass.
GET MORE SH*T DONE
How to Actually Finish Low-Priority Tasks
If you’re always thinking: Why, why, why is this “low-priority” task taking so long?
Then try…planning your to-do list and schedule by estimating effort in addition to priority.
It’s easy to assume that tasks we view as low-priority will also be low effort, but this assumption rarely turns out to be true. No matter how unfair, twisted, or wrong it seems, “low priority” doesn’t always mean “low effort”. But making this erroneous assumption can lead to time estimation errors, resentment, and procrastination.
The cycle goes something like this:
- You start the low priority task out of a sense of obligation
- You realize it’s harder and more time consuming than expected
- You question the logic of this situation
- You realize it makes much more sense to just do the task later, you know, when you have more time
- The low priority task stays in purgatory indefinitely
Break the cycle by properly estimating the effort of the task before you start.
If you’re shocked and appalled by the estimate, then strategize ways to work around it without resentment and surprise. For example, by completing the task over a month, by enlisting help, or by setting time limits for different steps to avoid task bloat.
If you’re always thinking: Who’s got time for THAT?
Then try…creating a dedicated time block just for low-priority tasks.
This recommendation from Get Ever Wise is the absolute perfect way to seamlessly integrate low-priority tasks into your habits—as long as you make upholding the time block a TOP priority.
Make the blocks as short as you want, especially if your primary concern is getting the low-priority tasks done eventually instead of immediately.
If you’re always thinking: But my high-priority tasks take up all my energy.
Then try…a low-priority task procrastination strategy.
Stanford philosophy professor John Perry wrote “the book” on procrastination and has some delightful ideas for embracing and even using it strategically.
If your high-priority tasks are big enough to take up all your energy, then chances are, they’re also high stress and high stakes, making you less than eager to start them.
Leverage the mental block you have on the big task to knock out some low-priorities—some things you’re not afraid to mess up. (Not that you will, of course.) This “warm up” will help boost your confidence, get you into flow, and also knock some festering low-priority tasks off your to-do list.
If you’re always thinking: No matter what I do, there is always another task waiting for me.
Then try…saying “no” more often.
If you’re worried about letting low-priority things fall through the cracks, it might be because, subconsciously, you know you have too much on your plate. Stop overloading your plate by saying “no.” Your complete how-to is waiting right above. (Refer back to our YOU DO YOU section.)
Bonus Tip: Turn your low-priority tasks into high-priority tasks.
We realize this might seem like a cop out, but by reassessing the benefits of completing the tasks, you might just find the motivation and the justification you need to prioritize them. Otherwise, something more important will almost always come along to knock the task back into purgatory.
TOGETHER WITH MONDAY.COM
Streamline Your Work With Templates
We’ve compared monday.com to the Swiss army knife of project management softwares — and they’ve taken it up a notch by launching industry specific templates.
Here are some of our fave templates that you can use today (for free) —
For HR & Recruiting:
- HR Requests
- Employee Engagement Survey
- Employee Recruitment & Onboarding
- Job App Form
- Cross Company Event Planning
Skill-Building Spotlight: Data Visualization
What is data visualization?
Here’s a beautifully crisp definition from the data experts at Tableau:
Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data. By using visual elements like charts, graphs, and maps, data visualization tools provide an accessible way to see and understand trends, outliers, and patterns in data.
Specific examples of visualizations include dashboards, interactive reports, timelines, charts, and graphs.
What can you do with data visualization skills?
The uses of data visualization include, but are nowhere near limited to:
- Turning swathes of numerical data into readable things like pie charts and bar charts
- Quickly pulling and sharing relevant audience insights from tons of survey responses
- Representing trends over time
- Showing complex connections and relationships
- Predicting sales volumes and other business KPIs
- Showing how a massive budget is allocated
- Clarity: Good visuals transform unintelligible data into something beautiful that reveals patterns and insights.
- Leverage: Visualizations help you actually use all the data you collect to make and justify decisions.
- Preparation: UX Planet reports on several sources that suggest the astronomical amounts of data we collect now are only going to get larger in the future. The ability to manipulate data into readable formats could be as essential to the jobs of the future as using a computer today.
How to learn and master data visualization:
- Data Science: Visualization from Harvard, EdX
- Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Power BI from Davidson, EdX
- Data Visualization and Communication with Tableau, from Duke University, Coursera
- Fundamentals of Data Visualization from University of Colorado Boulder, Coursera
- Communicating Data Through Storytelling, MIT Online
- Visualize This: The FlowingData to Design, Visualization, and Statistics
- Beautiful Visualization
- Data Visualization: A Practical Introduction
- Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations
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