Resources are precious. We generally have three resources to work with: time, money, and people. Two of these – money and people – aren’t fixed: they’re flexible insomuch that we can find ways to create more of them when needed. Time is not flexible. We can’t create more of it and it’s marching forward relentlessly – there’s no slowing it down.
Since time is so precious, we have to treat it differently. Ensuring ways to maximize efficiency can help, but with so many competing priorities, how can we stay focused on what matters to utilize our fixed resource to the best of our ability? One way is to say “no” more.
Time management is a critical skill to leadership. Focusing teams, and subsequently their time, on things that matter requires identifying what doesn’t matter and taking a hard line. Output against those important projects will increase as teams spend less time on the things that don’t matter. Saying “no” is hard but it’s also very important. It will get you further because you’ll have better alignment on the important things, faster delivery of those things, and perhaps most critically, happier employees as everyone moves in the same direction.