The Ultimate Productivity Hack is Saying No

The ultimate productivity chop is saying no .
not doing something will always be faster than doing it. This statement reminds me of the old calculator programming saying, “ Remember that there is no code faster than no code. ” 1
The like philosophy applies in early areas of life. For case, there is no meet that goes faster than not having a meet at all .
This is not to say you should never attend another meeting, but the truth is that we say yes to many things we do n’t actually want to do. There are many meetings held that do n’t need to be held. There is a lot of code written that could be deleted.

How much do people ask you to do something and you equitable reply, “ Sure thing. ” Three days later, you ‘re overwhelmed by how much is on your disturbance list. We become frustrated by our obligations even though we were the ones who said yes to them in the first rate. 2
It ‘s worth asking if things are necessity. many of them are not, and a simple “ no ” will be more productive than whatever work the most effective person can muster .
But if the benefits of saying no are so obvious, then why do we say yes so frequently ?

Why We Say Yes

We agree to many requests not because we want to do them, but because we do n’t want to be seen as crude, arrogant, or unhelpful. Often, you have to consider saying no to person you will interact with again in the future—your colleague, your spouse, your family and friends. 3
Saying no to these people can be particularly difficult because we like them and want to support them. ( not to mention, we frequently need their help besides. ) Collaborating with others is an significant component of animation. The think of straining the relationship outweighs the commitment of our meter and department of energy .
For this reason, it can be helpful to be gracious in your reception. Do whatever favors you can, and be warm-hearted and direct when you have to say no .
But even after we have accounted for these social considerations, many of us still seem to do a inadequate job of managing the tradeoff between yes and no. We find ourselves over-committed to things that do n’t meaningfully improve or support those around us, and surely do n’t improve our own lives .
possibly one issue is how we think about the intend of yes and no .

The Difference Between Yes and No

The words “ yes ” and “ no ” get used in comparison to each other then much that it feels like they carry equal weight in conversation. In world, they are not fair opposite in mean, but of wholly different magnitudes in commitment .
When you say no, you are entirely saying no to one option. When you say yes, you are saying no to every other option .
I like how the economist Tim Harford put it, “ Every time we say yes to a request, we are besides saying no to anything else we might accomplish with the time. ” 4 once you have committed to something, you have already decided how that future block of time will be spent .
In other words, saying no saves you time in the future. Saying yes costs you time in the future. No is a form of time recognition. You retain the ability to spend your future time however you want. Yes is a shape of clock debt. You have to pay back your commitment at some distributor point .
No is a decision. Yes is a duty .

The Role of No

Saying no is sometimes seen as a luxury that lone those in power can afford. And it is true : turning down opportunities is easier when you can fall back on the safety net provided by office, money, and authority. But it is besides true that saying no is not merely a prerogative reserved for the successful among us. It is besides a scheme that can help you become successful .
Saying no is an significant skill to develop at any stagecoach of your career because it retains the most authoritative asset in life : your clock. As the investor Pedro Sorrentino put it, “ If you don ’ thymine guard your time, people will steal it from you. ” 5

You need to say no to whatever is n’t leading you toward your goals. You need to say no to distractions. As one lector told me, “ If you broaden the definition as to how you apply no, it actually is the entirely productiveness hack ( as you ultimately say no to any distraction in order to be productive ). ”
cipher embodied this estimate better than Steve Jobs, who said, “ People think focus means saying yes to the thing you ’ ve got to focus on. But that ’ s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick cautiously. ” 6
There is an authoritative balance to strike here. Saying no does n’t mean you ‘ll never do anything concern or innovative or spontaneous. It merely means that you say yes in a focus way. once you have knocked out the distractions, it can make sense to say yes to any opportunity that could potentially move you in the mighty steering. You may have to try many things to discover what works and what you enjoy. This period of exploration can be peculiarly significant at the begin of a project, job, or career .

Upgrading Your No

Over time, as you continue to improve and succeed, your strategy needs to change .
The opportunity price of your time increases as you become more successful. At first base, you just eliminate the obvious distractions and explore the rest. As your skills improve and you learn to separate what works from what does n’t, you have to continually increase your doorsill for saying yes .
You even need to say no to distractions, but you besides need to learn to say no to opportunities that were previously adept uses of time, so you can make space for bang-up uses of time. It ‘s a dear problem to have, but it can be a rugged skill to master .
In early words, you have to upgrade your “ no ‘s ” over time .
Upgrading your no does n’t mean you ‘ll never say yes. It just means you default to saying no and merely say yes when it actually makes sense. To quote the investor Brent Beshore, “ Saying no is indeed knock-down because it preserves the opportunity to say yes. ” 7
The general swerve seems to be something like this : If you can learn to say no to bad distractions, then finally you ‘ll earn the right to say no to good opportunities .

How to Say No

Most of us are credibly excessively quick to say yes and excessively dense to say no. It ‘s worth asking yourself where you fall on that spectrum .
If you have disturb saying no, you may find the follow strategy proposed by Tim Harford, the british economist I mentioned earlier, to be helpful. He writes, “ One trick is to ask, “ If I had to do this nowadays, would I agree to it ? ” It ’ s not a bad rule of thumb, since any future commitment, no matter how far away it might be, will finally become an at hand problem. ” 8
If an opportunity is exciting enough to drop whatever you ‘re doing right now, then it ‘s a yes. If it ‘s not, then possibly you should think doubly .
This is similar to the long-familiar “ Hell Yeah or No ” method acting from Derek Sivers. If person asks you to do something and your first reaction is “ Hell Yeah ! ”, then do it. If it does n’t excite you, then say no. 9
It ‘s impossible to remember to ask yourself these questions each prison term you face a decisiveness, but it ‘s even a utilitarian practice to revisit from time to time. Saying no can be unmanageable, but it is often easier than the alternate. As writer Mike Dariano has pointed out, “ It ’ s easier to avoid commitments than get out of commitments. Saying no keep you toward the easier end of this spectrum. ” 10

What is true about health is besides true about productiveness : an ounce of prevention is worth a lumber of cure .

The Power of No

More attempt is wasted doing things that do n’t matter than is squandered doing things inefficiently. And if that is the case, elimination is a more useful skill than optimization .
I am reminded of the celebrated Peter Drucker quotation mark, “ There is nothing then useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. ”

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Category : Health

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