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How Saying No Can Improve Your Productivity

How Saying No Can Improve Your Productivity
How Saying No Can Improve Your Productivity

How Saying No Can Improve Your Productivity

Table Of Content(toc)

1. Intro


Most people know that if they want to be productive, they ought to be doing work. But what if you did the opposite and just said no?

What if, instead of working on things you don’t want to do, you focused on the things that you do want to do? By saying no and focusing on those things instead, you’ll get more done.

Three studies have proven this. A recent one from Harvard Business Review draws attention to a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Boston College that found people who say “no” tend to spend less time waiting for approval from others – which reduces procrastination and increases productivity.

A similar study from Carnegie Mellon University – conducted by researchers and postgraduates in the digital media department of the university in collaboration with a few companies – found that simply saying “no” increased productivity by 3%. (The authors gave their own interpretation of this result.)


2. Ultimate Productivity Hack is Saying 


I’m sure you all know the saying, “There is no magic to productivity.” However, there are ways in which productivity can be improved through saying no.

This is the case for a number of reasons:

• It is easier to say no than to do something that requires more energy than you have currently. (Unless you are very well-known now)

• If you choose not to do something, you stand as an example of someone who believes in doing things the right way. It’s a way to make others feel better about themselves. (Even if they don’t like it)

• You are giving a chance for the right thing to happen: a chance for your team and clients to be happier and work better together. (As long as they are willing to put up with your not-always-perfect ways.)

These aren’t new ideas — many of them were articulated by psychologists and neuroscientists over decades ago — but I love them because they show that we can actually do stuff that makes us happy, even if we don’t like it at first!

And by doing this, we will find ourselves doing stuff we enjoy even more — and at the same time having fun too!


3. The Psychology of Saying No: How to Train Yourself to Say No


Saying no is one of the most important skills you need to grow as a professional. Saying no is probably the single most powerful tool you have as an entrepreneur. It also happens to be one of the easiest.

You already know that a habit can only become a habit when it is reinforced regularly and consistently over time. So if you say no, you have made yourself repeat something that keeps coming up in your mind and which makes you feel uncomfortable.

When saying no, your brain works a little bit like this: “I don’t want to do it; but I could use the money…” In life, we all experience these mixed-reasons-to-say-no moments from time to time, but our brains are constantly at work trying to limit them or eliminate them altogether. In fact, our brains are constantly trying to remove wasteful or unnecessary things from our lives in order to save energy and resources for more important things…the very same efforts that lead us into saying yes in the first place.


4. Saying No to Others


Saying no is one of the surest ways to get ahead. It lets you take a long view and see where you are headed. You’re not going anywhere, so why waste your time doing something that will merely get you in trouble?

The saying “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission” comes from a quote by T.S. Eliot, who believed that asking people for permission makes them feel like they need it, when they don’t actually.

Yet, he was wrong: everyone wants to be forgiven for their mistakes—and that usually means asking for forgiveness at some point; even if the mistake isn’t intentional or even big enough to be noticed.

And when you do say no, your friends will respect you more. Some people might say it’s better to say yes than not at all (especially if they have a good reason), but I think saying no—even if there is an acceptable answer—makes people feel more respected and important, which can make them feel more empathetic towards you, which can make them want to help you out more often and in other situations…

That’s the power of saying no: it doesn’t cost anything but it has a big payoff!


5. Saying No Internally


Saying “no” is often a terrible idea because sometimes it’s best to say yes. Saying no internally is one of the most important and least discussed skills for any business, startup or professional.

It is also one of the most common mistakes, however. This quote from Tim Ferriss in his book The 4 Hour Workweek makes it clear that saying no both internally and externally can be extremely powerful:

So, if you want to get right down to the nuts and bolts of what you actually want to do, say “no” to things that don’t offer solutions you can immediately see. If you want to hit pause on something and figure out how to come up with better ideas, ask yourself four questions:  What are the features of this thing? What problems does it solve? What do I want out of this thing? How much time will I spend on it?

If you answer those questions honestly, even if your answer isn’t perfect or 100% satisfying (you will always have a desire for more), your answer will likely give you something that works better than anything else currently on market at that point in time. And if you have a real problem with something — maybe someone else needs your help or perhaps something is defective — then fix it before asking for more money or talking about it with someone else.

In other words, whenever possible: Never Make Anything You Don’t Want To Make!


6. Conclusion


In this post, I’ve presented you with a few productivity hacks to help you get more done in less time. If you’re not careful, you might end up doing more work than necessary and have to be derailed by the return of a busy inbox.

In this first part of the series, I said that we should be doing more work than necessary and have to be derailed by the return of a busy inbox. This is because we’re trying to accomplish too much at once. Although it is sometimes true, it is also true that there are times when being distracted by important tasks is a good thing — just as there are times when too much sleep can be harmful. There are plenty of times for both distractions and sleep, so it’s important that we don’t allow ourselves to become addicted to either:

• Too much work

• Too little sleep

The only way to break these habits is by breaking them with consistency:

It takes about 8 hours for your body to recover from a day of intense physical activity. For most people, this means they go straight from exercise or workout class back into their daily routine: showering and eating breakfast (sometimes both). It takes about 12 hours for your body to recover from one night’s sleep (a combination of natural processes that happen while you rest): going home, getting ready for bed and so on. The exact time varies depending on your lifestyle and life circumstances (for example if you live alone or have children), but generally speaking around 24 hours. So if you want to maximize your productivity, the optimal way is to take at least 8 hours each day.

And then there is that thing called competition — which I talked about in detail in part 1 of this series (yes, even though I had you believe otherwise):

Productivity isn’t just an individual achievement; it’s an entire community pursuit. Productivity isn’t just something that some people can do better than others — it’s a thing! And since everyone wants the same thing — high-quality code — competition between individuals leads us all down the same path: getting bogged down in details and spending long hours away from our jobs building things teams don’t need or care about. This happens when we obsess too much over one aspect of our lives instead of focusing on what really matters: our job and what we do best (productive work). If we worry constantly about competing with each other rather than


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