Productivity Hack; Get Comfortable With How To Say “No”

“Focusing is about saying ‘no’” - Steve Jobs

Are you someone who finds it easy to say “No?” Or are you like the majority who feel compelled to automatically answer “Yes” to most requests? Really productive people have learnt the power in saying “No.”

A problem many of us have is the need to be liked. Common reasons we give the default answer of “Yes” is due to:

  • It’s easier

  • We want to avoid conflict

  • We don’t want to disappoint

  • We don’t truly understand our priorities

  • We’re returning a favour

The above may all be valid reasons, but what’s the cost? The 3 absolute no-brainers for me are when:

  • We put other peoples’ priorities ahead of our own

  • We won’t have time available to say “Yes” to or action the high impact important work

  • We end up frustrated and stressed because we can’t achieve our objectives

I like how Warren Buffett said: “We need to learn the slow yes and the quick no.”

Wish I could give you an easy out, but the reality is you need to confront the behaviour if saying “No” makes you uncomfortable. Three guiding principles to consider are:

  • Be polite but direct if you can’t do it or if you need to time to complete first what you’re working on

  • Practice saying “No” (it gets easier the more you do it)

  • There’s no need to apologise with all sorts of reasons

The concept of no isn’t about being unhelpful; it’s about being deliberate with what you action and achieve. Hey, that’s what high achievers do.

Remember, it’s better to say “No” than to regret doing so and be resentful later.