The Ultimate Productivity Hack: Saying No

By DerrickCalvert

It will always be quicker to not do something than it is to do it. This reminds me of an old computer programming saying: “Remember, there is no code quicker than no code.”

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This same principle applies to other aspects of your life. There is no better way to get things done than by not meeting at all.

While this does not mean you shouldn’t attend any other meeting, the truth is we often say yes to things we don’t want to do. Many meetings are held that do not need to be held. There are many codes that could be deleted.

You’re often asked to do something by people and you simply reply “Yes.” Three days later you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of tasks on your list. Even though we said yes, we become frustrated with our obligations.

It is worth asking whether certain things are necessary. Many are unnecessary, and a simple “no” will yield more results than any work that the most efficient person can do.

Many requests are not accepted because we feel obliged to, but rather because we don’t want to be seen rude, arrogant or unhelpful. You have to be able to say no to people you will see again, such as your spouse, coworker, or family members.

It can be difficult to say no to people we love and support. We often need their support. Collaboration is an essential part of human life. It is easy to think of straining a relationship as a greater commitment than our time and energy.

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What’s the Difference Between Yes And No?

It feels as if the words “yes” or “no” are used so often in comparison that they seem equal in weight. They aren’t just different in meaning; they also have completely different commitment levels.

You can only say no to one option when you say no. If you say no, you’re saying no to all other options.

The Role Of No

Sometimes, saying no can be seen as an expensive luxury that only those with power can afford. It is true that turning down opportunities can be easier when you have the safety net of power, money, authority. It is true, however, that not saying no is a privilege reserved only for the most successful. You can also use it to your advantage and help you succeed.

It is important to learn how to say no at every stage of your career. Because it preserves your most valuable asset: your time. Pedro Sorrentino, an investor, stated that “if you don’t guard it, people will take it from you.”

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Upgrade Your No

Your strategy must change as you improve and become more successful. As you get more successful, the opportunity cost of your time will increase. You can start by removing the obvious distractions, and then you can explore the rest. You will improve your skills and learn to discern what works and what doesn’t. As you gain more experience, your tolerance for saying yes will increase.

While you need to be able to say no, you must also learn to say no when you have the opportunity to use your time in a way that is more productive. This is a great problem to have but can be difficult to solve. Also, it is important to keep your “no” list updated over time.

The Power of No

It is more effort to do things that aren’t important than it is to do things efficiently. If that’s the case, elimination can be more valuable than optimization.

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Peter Drucker’s famous quote reminds me of this: “There is nothing more useless than doing efficiently what should not be done.”