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Time Management: How to Say Yes to Your Highest Priorities

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Mom helping chld water plants Time Management—Do you consider yourself a "yes woman!"? Are you someone who takes on more tasks than she can possibly handle? Do you have trouble delegating? And when you finally muster up the courage to say "no!", do you immediately feel guilty?

Focusing on your highest priorities often requires saying no to lesser important things.

Stephen Covey says:

It's easy to say ''no!'' when there's a deeper ''yes!'' burning inside.

5 Tips to Saying Yes to Your Highest Priorities

  1. Identify your "deeper yes!" What is most important to you? Knowing your highest priorities and scheduling your week accordingly will help you more easily say no to your lesser important tasks.
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  2. Plan your entire week around your highest priorities. If you have a major deadline at work and your child has a performance at school and those are the two most important things for you to accomplish during your upcoming week, make sure they go on the calendar first. Then, schedule the other, lesser important tasks around them.
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  3. Plan ahead. Procrastinating often adds unnecessary work and stress, taking you away from what matters most to you. Planning ahead ensures you are meeting your obligations and deadlines while at the same time, helps you put first things first.
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  4. Ask for Help and Delegate. Remember, you aren't in this alone. Whether you are a single parent, have a partner, have family nearby or far away, resources are available for you to tap into as a parent, an employee, a business owner, a volunteer, etc. Online research will produce more tools than you can possibly imagine, but it will be up to you to ask for help and delegate the tasks that are taking you away from your highest priorities.
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  5. Say "no"! If you view saying "no!" as letting someone down, try shifting your mindset so that you view saying "no!" as a way to make your "deeper yes!" a possibility. If the person persists, offer alternative solutions, including a different resource to complete the task or another time frame. If that person is your boss, explain that by saying "yes!" to their urgent task, you'll need to put off "X (your more important priority)."  Help him or her see that your saying "no!" is helping the entire team. (The same can be done with your kids!)

The more you focus on what matters most to you, the more you will move away from feeling a short-term high from all of the to-dos you crossed off your list to long-term happiness from accomplishing those things that move you closer and closer to your most important goals.

What are your most important priorities and what will you do this week to move closer to accomplishing them?

Jyl Johnson Pattee is a blogger, mom to two boys, wife to a slightly larger one, and spent more than 9 years working for FranklinCovey, where she gleaned lots of time-management tips to which this post can be attributed. She loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, traveling, and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her family!
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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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