Time is measured in minutes, or increments of minutes, in our workplaces. Time can also be measured in projects completed, quantity of customer interactions, and volume of sales made. Productivity measures for time along with our felt experiences about the uses of our daily time add up to our sense of how a workday has gone.

Time management studies and workshops have been conducted in workplaces for one hundred years or more; proving that how we use time matters to employers. Employees also want to feel that their time is used in meaningful ways and relevant work accomplishments. As an instructor for time management workshops and conference presentations, I discovered that protecting time at work and in our personal lives is a challenge for men and women alike. This discovery resulted in the book now in six languages: NO! How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Life.

In addition to the POWER model for decision-making, NO! suggests creating your own Policy of NO statement as one tool for protecting your time and energy. A Policy of NO is a list of things, activities, or interactions to which you will always say “No”, regardless of who asks, when or where they ask, or what promised benefit might be gained.

For example, on my personal and business Policy of NO, I’ve included: “When a client asks me to misrepresent my credentials, I will always say NO.” During my years in corporate and small business practice, this has been requested a handful of times. Having a clear Policy of NO in place, protects my time and my professional, as well as personal, reputation.

One workshop attendee’s Policy of No included: “I will not spend time with people who are negative – at work or in my personal life.”

What will you always say NO to in order to protect your time and energy?

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