Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Working Only 4 Hours a Day Means Learning to Say the Dreaded Word “No”

Filed under: 4-Hour Workday — by at 6:51 pm on Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Three presentations, two cross-border trips and one amazing bucket list adventure later, last week found me back at work, with a new client awaiting. Getting back in the groove was relatively painless because of strategies I have implemented with the 4-Hour Workday.

How is that possible?

Each night I email myself six tasks for the next day. That one step mentally prepares me for the following day, unless there is a burning fire in my inbox in the morning, which, truthfully, rarely happens. Some productivity experts would say to not check my email first, but rather to get right to work before I get distracted with other people’s requests of me. I’m not there yet, and I am not worrying about getting there, at this point.

Although emailing myself a to-do list might sound frivolous and unnecessary, the one night that I didn’t email myself, I felt lost after completing about the second task. I was torn and undecided with what I needed to do next.

i will let you in on a little secret: I don’t always need to open that email to see what is next on my list. The act of taking a few moments each night to decide what’s most important to do the next day and writing it down is enough to implant it in my brain. The email acts as a reminder, if needed, and it then becomes my response to iDoneThis automated daily question: What did you get done today? I paste my list, already written in past tense, into my response email and tweak as necessary – some days I need to delete something that I didn’t get done that I had planned to; other days I add a few extra things I accomplished or a note about the day. iDoneThis has become my quick n dirty journal.

One side effect of the 4-Hour Workday is being constantly aware of how I am spending my limited work day. This means there is no time to waste on projects that will have little or no return on my investment of time. Yesterday weighing on my mind were an invitation and a commitment to speak; both of which were freebies. That would mean I’d spend 40-50+ hours creating PowerPoints for a 20-30 minute presentation (I now know this because I am also now tracking how long each task takes) in exchange for “a small token of our appreciation”, if I am lucky.

Allow me to share this one story that is still perturbing me from the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) Conference: during one of the sessions an older gentleman with cerebral palsy used his communication device to explain he volunteers 40 hours per week at his local CP organization office. An audience member asked why wasn’t he paid for his work. I thought it was a good question and was curious to hear the answer. But none was offered. The moderator replied laughingly, “It’d probably be a conflict of interest,” and moved on. The question was left unanswered.

i hope I don’t sound like a diva here, but…I don’t want to be that disabled person. “A small token of our appreciation”, after giving a presentation filled with information and value, doesn’t put food on the table, pay down the mortgage or finance awesome bucket list adventures.

Thanks to my friend and mentor/business advisor Becky McCray, yesterday I had the words to say no gracefully and I sent the two emails that I knew I had to send, but was dreading. Truthfully? I am still awaiting the fallout from saying no. But, at the same time, I do feel freer, lighter.

That isn’t to say I won’t do other freebie presentations. I will, under the right circumstances. The proportion of paying gigs to donation of time needs to be more inline with a viable business than with a non-profit enterprise. Another lesson learned that will contribute to making the 4 Hour Work Day a success.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Becky McCray

August 28, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

Glenda, I’m loving watching your 4 hour workday progress! Your email technique is fascinating and useful.

Comment by Glenda

August 28, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

Thank you, Becky! I am learning from the best.

Comment by Spashionista

August 28, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

You are not a diva. If you’re a diva I’m the empress of the Universe! Wait, maybe you are a diva after all ;-P
Seriously, although I have CP I’ve only recently tried to network with others that have it and I’m finding it difficult to meet anyone I can relate to. That’s not a judgement, just an observation. So far you are the person with which I have the most in common and I genuinely enjoy reading your posts. It’s a shame we live so far apart.

Comment by Bron

August 30, 2012 @ 4:20 am

Hi Glenda. I am new to your blog and am really glad to have discovered it. You write very honestly and I will enjoy following your journey. I have a seven year old son who happens to have Athetoid cp so I found your blog after researching ACC. Cheers bron

Comment by Heidi Thorne

September 8, 2012 @ 11:45 am

I really like the idea of emailing tasks to yourself. I’ve done that occasionally as I remember things I need to do.

I’m also one of those “get the email out of the way first” people, too. Most of my clients connect with me that way. So, as you so correctly note, I think it’s important to take care of the money. Whether that’s taking care of clients first or saying no (which I just had to do in the past 24 hours), we are responsible for our own financial and personal well-being.

Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement!

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