哈佛商评:如何抵制诱惑

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​We’ve all heard the advice: if you want to be more productive, cut out the TV and Facebook binges, and you can miraculously have five to 10 hours of your life back each week.

我们都听过这样的建议:如果你想更加高效,别看电视别刷脸书,这样一周你就可以神奇地省下五到十个小时!

That is a preposterous suggestion for hard-charging professionals. 

对冲劲十足的职场人士来说,这个建议简直荒谬。

We’ve already eliminated the fat from our schedules. We listen to audiobooks while washing the dishes, answer emails while standing in line at the grocery store, and return voicemails while driving home from work. There are no more efficiencies left to wring from the edges of our days. 

我们已经把时间表排的没有一丝空闲。我们洗碗碟的时候听有声书,超市排队结账的时候回复电邮,下班开车回家路上还要回复语音信箱。单靠从零碎时间中挤,已经不可能挤出更高的效率了。

So if we truly want to level up our productivity, there’s only one solution — and it’s painful. We have to learn how to sayno togood things. 

所以,如果我们真的要提高效率,只有一个办法,一个痛苦的办法。我们必须学会怎样对看上去好的事情说不。

Saying no to a hopeful and expectant person can be challenging. But it’s a lot easier when the offer is unappealing: an unpaid speech in Buffalo in February, or yet another latte in exchange for an hourlong “brain picking.” It’s extraordinarily painful to sayno to wonderful opportunities that you would very much like to do…except for the fact that they’re not the priorities you intentionally set. 

拒绝一个充满期待的人很困难,但如果那个邀约不太吸引人就会容易很多,比方说,二月份在布法罗的一个无薪演讲,或是用一个小时“智慧碰撞”换来的又一杯拿铁。最最痛苦的莫过于拒绝一些看似好的机会,你其实非常喜欢做那些事,只是它们在你设定的优先级里排不上号。

I recently had to write an email that made me flinch. I turned down a speaking engagement on Grand Cayman that was offered to me by a longtime friend. In the past, there’s no question I would have jumped on it. “Caribbean + money + friend” would have proven irresistible. But I said no, and I’m glad I did, because it gave me more time to pursue the meaningful, long-term goals I set for myself. 

最近我不得不痛苦地写了封拒绝电邮。 我谢绝了一个老友在大开曼岛的演讲邀约。过去,我会毫不犹豫的答应。“加勒比海+钱+朋友”这诱惑简直无法抵挡。但是这次我拒绝了,并为此感到高兴,因为我有更多的时间来追求我一早定下的,对我来说更有意义的长期目标。

That might be an extreme example, but I suspect you are also probably faced with a steady stream of good opportunities and you just don’t have time to say yes to all of them, or maybe even most of them. Here’s how you can find the strength to sayno, and the questionsyou can ask yourself to stay focused.

这可能是个极端的例子,但是我相信你也可能有一连串的好机会,只是没有时间参与每一次,甚至绝大多数都没时间参加。以下是你要保持专注的时候可以问自己的一些问题,你也可以从中找到拒绝看似好机会的理由。

What are your top professional priorities? It’s exciting to jump on new opportunities that present themselves, but not if they’re at the expense of the plan you’ve carefully laid out. What are your top two or three goals this year? For me, it’s researching and writing a new book, launching an online course, and earning money through speaking and consulting. (The island adventure would have paid far less than my usual rate — so while it would have been fun, it would have cut into the time I’d set aside for my first two goals.) 

你职业生涯最大的目标是什么?拥抱新机会固然令人激动,但是如果代价是放弃你深思熟虑过的生涯规划,那么拒绝吧。你今年最重要的两个或三个目标是什么?我今年的目标是做研究,写一本新书,发布一个线上课程,靠演讲和咨询赚钱。(这次小岛探险带来的回报会远远低于我的日常工作,所以尽管会很好玩,它会挤占我留给首要目标的时间。)

What is the total commitment? It’s easy to focus on the “shiny” part of the offer, even if that’s only the ego-boosting effects of being invited to do something. But find out what’s really involved. In addition to the commitment itself, is there planning or prep work to do? What’s the travel time? Will there be follow-up calls? Thinking this through will make the ROI (or lack thereof) clearer. Make sure you’re taking all aspects of the opportunity into account before yousay yes. Agreeing to present on a webinar, for instance, might sound like a one-hour commitment. But actually it often means preparing slides, editing them based on feedback, holding prep calls with stakeholders, and doing a technical run-through several days before, amounting to several additional hours of “hidden” work. 

全部的时间花费是多少?我们很容易就只关注邀约的“闪亮”一面,甚至有时这个“闪亮”之处只是由于被邀请本身带来的自我满足而想象出来的。难的是找出这个工作邀约真正包括的所有事情。除了承诺的演讲本身,还需要做计划或者准备工作吗?路上花费多少时间?会有电话回访吗?把这些想清楚会让你更好地算清投资回报率(或欠报率)。确保你在接受邀约之前把这些方方面面都考虑进去。比方说,答应参加一个在线研讨会看起来只投入一个小时,但其实要准备演讲稿,根据反馈修改,跟主办方电话沟通,提前几天检查设备,加起来就是好几个小时的“隐藏”工作。

What is the opportunity cost? One of my coaching clients told me recently about the acute pain he felt when he agreed to do a pro bono talk because he had nothing on the calendar, only to receive a paid speaking invitation for the same date that he now had to decline. It’s important to remember that by saying noyou’re leaving yourself open to other possibilities that might offer higher pay, provide equal or more interesting connections, or be more in line with your goals this year. Even if nothing else comes along, you’ll have protected the time you need to work on your key priorities.

机会成本是什么?我的一个培训客户最近告诉我他只是因为日程表有空档就答应了一个公益演讲的邀请,后来不得不拒绝了同一天的一场有偿演讲的邀约,为此他十分痛苦。要记得当你说“不”的时候,就把时间留给了可能更高薪,带来更多人脉,或者更符合你今年目标的机会。就算没有更好的机会,你仍然保住了需要花在首要目标上面的时间。

What is the physical/emotional cost? Finally, money and alignment with professional goals aren’t the only reasons to sayno to an otherwise good opportunity. It’s also important to safeguard your health — something it’s easy to overlook. In 2015, I gave 74 talks on four continents. After being felled by a particularly vicious flu on the way back from an international engagement, I vowed to be clearer and more selective in the choices I made. If the talk didn’t meet my strategic objectives or my price point, I would need to decline. It was the only way, I realized, that I could keep myself in good shape for the right invitations.

体力/情感成本是什么?最后,金钱和与职业目标的一致程度并不是拒绝看似好机会的唯一理由。身体健康也很重要,但这往往容易被忽视。2015年,我在4个大洲做了74次演讲。在一次跨国工作回程时我染上了严重的流感,之后我发誓今后在做选择的时候要更清醒更挑剔。如果那个演讲邀约不符合我的战略目标或达不到我的价位,我必须要拒绝。我认识到,要为真正合适的机会保持良好的状态,这是唯一的办法。 

Intellectually, we all understand the importance of focus. We know we can’t hope to make progress on our most meaningful long-term goals if we don’t carve out specific development time. And yet saying no to good opportunities feels terrible. Most people, in fact, can’t bear to do it, so they overcommit, run themselves ragged, and feel resentful in the end. And most of us succeed earlier in our careers by saying yes to almost everything. But there is strength in learning to sayno. It’s the only way to reach the level of focus and productivity that allows you to become great.

我们理智上都了解专注的重要性。我们知道如果不留出专门的时间,长期目标就无法达成。尽管如此,拒绝看似好的机会让人感觉很糟糕。大多数人,实际上,无法忍受这样做,所以他们做出过度的承诺,透支自己,最后心生怨恨。尽管我们大都在职业生涯早期靠着什么都做而迅速成功,但学着拒绝会给你力量。这是唯一的方法,能够让你提升专注度和效率,变得更为卓越。