Time Management for Business Intelligence? The Power of No

Have you ever noticed how many people are stressed out and overcommitted?  I witness the results at Starbucks when the customer barks at the barista for a small error, in the grocery store when a mom snaps at her daughter, and most of all, in clients who are afraid to disappoint their bosses and they overcommit on their projects.  Today this blog will take those problems into the business intelligence space and talk about Time Management for Business Intelligence.

I personally saw the effects of the “overcommit syndrome” when my sister was pulling all-nighters to fill goodie bags for a charity event.  So I gave her a gift!  The same gift I would like to give to you!  I went to the local craft store and purchased paint, brushes and two wooden letters.  I have to admit, my paint job looked like a child’s work but it was the power of what the two letters represented that made the gift special.  I then wrapped the letters up with a pretty red bow.  I was so excited to share with her my present.

When she opened it, she was confused.  I gave her the word “ON”.  Oh crud, I forgot to label which way she should open the box.  I laughed and rapidly rotated the box to display the word “NO”.   Her forehead wrinkled with a lack of comprehension.    Smiling broadly I stated, “I am officially empowering you to use the word “NO”. It is not a negative word; it’s an empowering word.  When people call for you to run a charity event, you simply look up at the letters and politely say ‘No, thank you, I am already committed’.”    She laughed and said that I’ve been reading too many self-help books again and put the letters on a ledge in her kitchen.  A few weeks later, my niece called me and said, “OMG.  Mom said ‘no’ to running a charity event.” She was very excited, because when mom was stressed, everyone was stressed!

So let’s get back to the workplace.  The same applies.  By not overcommitting, by leveraging the power and using the psychology of NO, you will be allowed to focus on delivering your best work, instead of mediocre work on too much work.   Working with business analytics professionals, I see them routinely overcommit on time and functionality to be delivered.  The result is that everyone is overworked, stressed out and no one is happy with the results.   So STOP IT!


Everyone I know could uses some time management for Business Intelligence projects.  The secret is not just using the psychology of NO, but how you say it!  Here are a couple time management for business intelligence tricks to get you started, but like anything else, to get good you must practice.

  1.  Stop automatically saying “yes” and start with “I’ll think about it.”
  2. Add some sugar to your NO. “Gosh, I am so honored you would think of me for this project, I am sure it will have amazing outcomes, but currently I unable to participate because…”
  3. Watch your emotions.  NO is difficult for some people, so smile and keep your emotions in check.
  4. Reference your other commitments and mention that you always want to give your best but can’t do that if you are spread too thin.
  5. Think about the others you have commitments to.  What would it mean and how would they feel about you overcommitting?
  6. Practice, Practice, Practice.  Heck, practice in the mirror if you have to.

Expected Results:

  • You won’t feel abused at work
  • You can focus on your goals
  • You will be able to deliver your best work
  • People will only request important things of you
  • You, your friends and your family will be happier