Are you ready? Here goes...
- "Let me get back to you."
If you really want to conquer your time challenges, you start by conquering your calendar! And for most of us, our calendars our filled at the request of others. So... the more quickly you can decide if you are ("Yes, I can do that.") or are not ("No, I can't do that.") going to do a project, the more quickly you can get focused on taking action.
In those cases where you just don't know (or where you don't feel like you can say "no" at the time the request is made), "Let me get back to you" is a great stop-gap.... It givesyou a bit of extra time to check your schedule, clear your head, and choose the best option for you.
And if you still don't know, go with "No". You'll end up doing less of what others want you to do, more of what you want and in those rare cases where you feel really bad, you can always change your mind ("I double checked my schedule and, you know, I can go out to dinner with you...").