Self-Mastery of Your Schedule Step 10 of 11: Learn to Say No

Back in the fourth self-mastery blog, we went over the 1-3-1 strategy for helping your team members solve most problems they come across in the workplace. Now, we are learning about the power of saying no to helping you manage your schedule. It’s not about Minnesota nice. It’s about caring enough about others and yourself to respect the schedule you keep. Yes, you most definitely should care, but not to the point where you’re failing others and failing business responsibilities.

In the book, The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey, author Ken Blanchard describes each task or request as a monkey. Every question or request is a monkey on someone’s back. When an employee or team member comes to you with a request and you accept in taking charge of the project or issue, you are taking their monkey and putting it on your back. Managers and business leaders that keep saying yes are constantly putting more monkeys on their back that they can’t hold up.



What is important to remember is that your team is there for a reason. Encouraging them to find solutions is the first step. The next is for you to say no to perfection. First, perfectionism almost always has a way of sucking the life and energy out of a project. Second, perfection is very limiting; it cuts us off from what we’re capable of doing, giving, adding, receiving, and becoming. Lastly, perfection puts us in boxes. It steals our human-ness. It colors inside the lines and now we are no longer authentic.


Perfection equals undue stress. Many business leaders finish a project but go back to fix the little things until it’s two hours later with nothing fully completed. Perfection leads to overcomplicated and overcomplicated leads to overwhelmed and overwhelmed leads paralyzed and a paralyzed mind achieves nothing.

How can business leaders say no to perfection? First, set your goal. Set a time frame for what you are working on. For example, use two hours of your focus time to finish the project you’re working on. Then, challenge yourself to get it done before the end of the two hours.

Challenging yourself to get your project done sooner than your timeframe turns hard work into a game. Then, when it’s done, it’s done. It might sound simple written down, but it can be difficult to execute. If you start second guessing yourself, it’s important to remember that perfection is unreachable. For those business leaders that have a hard time letting a project go that isn’t perfect, here is what we suggest: make a stop-list.

A stop-list is a list of things where you have to stop trying to make the project perfectly perfect. Write down a list of things you need to stop doing in order to be able to get your project done. Having this list on hand will help you remember to not give in to perfection.

If you would like to learn more about how to make the most of your work time, give our coaches a call! We aim to guide you in finding ways to help your business grow.