Editor’s note:

I received this email because I’m a subscriber to Bob Bly’s newsletter. I don’t know if Bob Bly is genius, but he must be close (I have followed him for years.) You can sign up for his newsletter athttp://www.bly.com/reports/. I highly recommend it. You might not wish to be as extreme as Bob appears to be regarding your time, but his suggestions have merit and are worth considering.

Direct Response Letter Subscriber:
The other day subscriber WK sent me an e-mail asking if we could
have lunch:
"I'd like a chance to meet you, if possible, just to meet so
that sometime in the future we might be able to work on
something together," wrote WK. "I live in northern, NJ so we
aren't so far apart. I've probably been in your neighborhood
many times."
I get asked to lunch by subscribers who live in or near my area
a few times a month. And I always say no.
Here's why I won't go to lunch with WK or even you, as much as I
may like you:
1-I find going out to lunch in the middle of a work day to be an
enormous drain on my severely limited supply of time. I would
rather spend the time working.
2-Many subscribers try to tempt me by saying the lunch will be
on them.
I charge hundreds of dollars an hour for my time. Do you think
paying $10 for my tuna sandwich and Coke is really a tempting
bribe for me?
Some people up the ante by offering to take me to an expensive
restaurant. This plea falls on deaf ears; I don't care that much
what I eat. And if I desire an expensive meal I can well afford
to pay for it myself.
3-I am introverted and even reclusive by nature. I have no
desire to eat lunch with someone I don't know.
4-WK says we should meet "so that sometime in the future we
might be able to work on something together."
If WK or anyone else wants to work with me, we do not need to
meet to make that happen.
I virtually never go to meetings; all my work is done via Fedex,
fax, mail, and e-mail.
I rarely leave my desk during the day. And I almost never
travel, except for seminars.
5-Should WK want to ask me for advice, he can do so by e-mail or
phone, and I will gladly answer short questions at no charge.
A question I could answer in 2 minutes on the phone or by e-mail
would take up an hour or two of my time at lunch.
The fact is there are very few things in my life I value as much
as my time.
Not money. Money can be replaced. If you lose money, you can
always make more of it.
But time is irreplaceable. Once it's gone, it's gone for good.
You can never get it back.
If I spend 2 hours having lunch with WK, that's 2 hours away
from doing my client work ... or writing my book ... or spending
time with people I like ... or doing other things I like to do.
This is why I have never been big on joining committees for
clubs, business associations, and the like - they suck up
precious time that could be used for more rewarding or
pleasurable activities.
One of the best ways to not squander your precious, limited time
is to learn to say "no."
"No, I can't have lunch with you."
"No, I can't attend that meeting."
"No, I can't serve on that committee."
"No, I can't volunteer to serve in that capacity."
My attitude may raise your hackles or offend your sensibilities.
That is not my intention.
I am not telling you what to do or how to live your life.
But people ask me how I am able to get so much done in my life -
a continual stream of copywriting projects, these weekly e-mail
articles, columns, seminars, information products, 80 published
books and counting.
It is by valuing, conserving, and protecting my time like it was
gold in Fort Knox - and learning the magic of saying "no."
Bob Bly
P.S. If you want to learn more about my time management tips and
techniques, read my book Make Every Second Count (Career Press),
available on Amazon: