Many of you are running around like mad trying to manage your time. You’re reading productivity hacks, taking cold showers and waking up at 5 am.
You’re doing all of this because you want more time to do what you love.
Let me hit you in the face with one technique that has allowed me to win back time, so I can do what I love.
Stop replying to everyone…
You get emails asking you to do stuff.
You get asked to do an intro.
You get asked to speak at an event for free about your area of expertise.
Here’s the problem:
YOU KEEP RESPONDING TO EVERY REQUEST OF YOUR TIME.
What’s the answer?
The answer is really simple like everything I write. Are you ready?
Stop replying to everyone.
I learned this technique the hard way. When I was looking to interview entrepreneurs in 2014 about their story and share it in the form of a blog post, I didn’t get many replies.
I’d email very successful people who have achieved the impossible and get nothing.
Why don’t your idols respond to requests for their time?
There’s many reasons.
- They have too many requests and could never humanly answer every single one.
- They have limited time and can’t fit everybody into their schedule.
The second reason is the most important. Your idols don’t respond because that’s their way of saying no.
No response is the best response.
By responding to every request of your time, you go down the rabbit hole of endless back and forth conversations.
Let me illustrate this point with a short story.
A US startup approached me on LinkedIn and asked me to advise them on their social media strategy. They offered me equity in return for my expertise.
The product was not something that aligned with who I am, and I was heading off to Europe on holidays and had no time to draft a proper reply.
I sent no response to their request.
They messaged me a second time.
I sent no response to their request.
Then, I got sucked into responding. I felt my moral compass telling me to reply and tell them no. On top of that, the startup had a very well known person in the social media industry join them. FOMO kicked in.
I replied and that’s where everything went wrong.
Once I replied to the request I got daily reminders and emails with pitch decks trying to convince me why they were the one startup who could beat Instagram. The claims of how much traction they had got more and more ridiculous.
“Eventually, a simple request of my time turned into a daily debate”
They wouldn’t leave me alone. I began to regret my stupidity for responding in the first place.
If a request of your time doesn’t resonate with you, and you don’t feel like saying “Fuck Yes” when presented with an opportunity, say NO.
Don’t be tempted by a request of your time.
Not replying is what works.
People generally give up after one email or direct message asking for your time. I’ve tested this theory a lot and it has almost always turned out to be true.
As soon as you reply, you become like a lawyer in the High Court trying to defend someone who is accused of murder. Your time is yours. You only get one life.
“You don’t need to justify yourself, your time, or your goals to anybody”
YOU HEAR ME? NOBODY!
The way you win back time and make room for what’s important to you is to fight the temptation to reply to every request that comes your way.
Quit giving away your time like free balloons at a car expo.
You end up making up lies.
The problem with replying to every request of your time is you can end up making up lies to get out of doing something. Or you may end up exaggerating or putting forward excuses that aren’t entirely true.
This causes even more problems for you because if the requester knows people within your network, they may find out you’re not being honest.
Why construct a grand plan that takes more of your time to respond to a request?
It’s easier to say nothing at all.
Silence says it all.
Smart people who ask you for stuff will know that after a week, if you haven’t responded, you’re probably not interested.
Silence is the best response. After all, if someone really wants you to do something they’ll chase you, they’ll follow you up and they may get a mutual connection to intro them to you.
Many pitches and requests are poorly written or incredibly selfish.
Fight back with silence. Don’t reply. Stop replying.
You’re not missing anything.
The temptation to respond can also be caused by the fear that you’re missing out.
Maybe someone is contacting you to fund your idea.
Maybe something you wrote is going to be published in the New York Times.
Maybe the request will lead you to direct a Hollywood Movie.
All of these false ideas are what’s causing you to respond to everybody.You’re worried you could miss the jackpot or your lucky break.
The harsh truth is that these opportunities are earned through hard work.Genuine opportunities that will excite you are clearly articulated and your gut feeling will guide you better than you think.
“You’re not going to miss out on winning an Oscar for a movie you made because you didn’t reply to an email”
Not replying isn’t rude.
We feel we must reply to every request of our time. We have a fear that we will be accused of being rude.
This belief is false also. There’s nothing rude about not replying. We all get lots of emails and messages online and we can’t answer them all. People will understand when you don’t reply. If they don’t understand then that’s a problem with them, not you.
Don’t feel you have to reply out of politeness.