May 19

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Say NO to keep focus

By Ralph Varcoe

May 19, 2020

productivity hacks

1.5   Just Say 'No'

Productivity hack no.5 from '60 Ways to Hurray! by Ralph Varcoe.


In this productivity hack we'll look at the importance of saying 'No' to your success.


You cannot do everything. No matter how efficient you become, you just can’t. None of us can.

You know what they say? “If you want something done, ask a busy person”. If you’re a busy and efficient person who gains a reputation for getting things done people will probably gravitate to asking you to take on more. Organising the school quiz night, another extra-curricular project at work, or being the coordinator for the local neighbourhood watch.

You should always ask yourself how many of these extra things are your priority? If one or more of them are on your goal list then take them on and do them amazingly well. But if they aren’t then they are distractions. These extra things will take your time and rob that oh-so-precious and finite commodity.

It may not come naturally to you, especially if you are typically a ‘people pleaser’, but you need to learn to say “NO” to things that don’t move you towards your goals. Why would you take on a task that is someone else’s priority if it’s not aligned with your own? It just doesn’t make sense.

“But,” I hear you cry, “I’m part of a community and have friends who I want to help. I want to have and maintain relationships with them. So I need to do things for them.”

Yes and no. It absolutely is right to be there for friends and family and to take things on for them, if appropriate. But, you must evaluate whether someone else can do them instead, depending on the time you have available.

If you’re naturally used to saying yes it’s going to feel really unnatural to say no. You may feel guilty. Just go with it, because this is about focusing on your goals, and while you’re doing that, to give yourself the time to drive towards your goals, other things will need to give.

Get used to saying no. Do it the next time you’re asked to take something extra on (unless it fits with your goals).

All you need to say is, “I’m really sorry but I can’t do that right now as I’m up against a deadline on some work”. That’s true  - your work! Your goals. An investment in your future.

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Ralph Varcoe

About the author

For over 20 years, Ralph has run sales and marketing teams across large enterprises and smaller start-ups, at companies such as Orange, Tata Communications, Virgin Media, Spirit Ai and others. He brings a wealth of experience in personal and professional development with a laser focus on enabling people to achieve more than they thought possible. He's a published author and musician with a passion for creating - be that change, the right solution, exciting campaigns, the right environment for customers to succeed, or podcasts, videos and written content.

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