The Art of saying NO and focusing more. Setting goals isn’t about doing more work. It’s all about saying no to everything else. Productivity is defined not by how much work you do, but by how much work you ignore. I love the 30-Day Trial system for changing habits.
Art of saying NO helped me rewire my health, work, and lifestyle. One of the most important factors for system success, I’ve discovered, is only running one trial at a time. The system works by selecting one habit to focus on solely for thirty days. After that, it becomes a part of you and is easier to maintain. However, the Art of saying NO argue that the true power of the system comes from deciding which change to priorities and ruthlessly ignoring the rest.
I completed more work in the last month than I did in the previous eight months. Despite this, I was far less stressed than I had been for the previous eight months. The reason was straightforward: I was able to concentrate. Instead of managing large academic projects, courses, and extracurricular activities, I was only required to concentrate on my own work.
The lesson is simple: “Art of saying NO”
If you want to accomplish something, ignore everything else. But I believe it is worth repeating because many of us (including myself) fall into the trap of saying yes to everything while focusing on nothing.
Few people have the luxury of being able to devote their full attention to their goals. You may not be able to focus ruthlessly on one pursuit if you have a job, a family, or other obligations. However, among the list of genuine necessities are a number of items that can be safely ignored.
What if you said no to any of these requests?
- Other Projects
I’m not suggesting you get rid of them entirely. Alternatively, you could reduce your usage. Just be aware that you are probably saying yes to a number of things out of guilt or habit. Things that can be ignored once, twice, or indefinitely without causing major problems.
Paying yourself first is one of my favorite personal finance tips. The idea is to immediately withdraw any savings money from your earnings and deposit it in a separate bank account. Because if you wait until the end of the month to save what’s left over, you’ll almost certainly have spent it all.
This concept, I believe, applies equally to your objectives. Pay yourself first because if you pay others first, you won’t have enough time for what matters most to you. There will be a few things that must be done first. If you want to start a micro business but also have a full-time job, your first priority should be to avoid being fired (at least until your micro business can support you).
The same is true for important family matters. However, there are a lot of should between the list of absolute necessities and your goals. I’m not suggesting you stop taking out the garbage, turn off the television, or stop seeing your friends. But only after you’ve paid yourself should you do these things.
Nobody else will prioritize your goals if you do not. This may appear selfish, but it is not. If your goals are aligned with helping yourself and others, the most altruistic thing you can do is prioritize your goals. If you’re wealthy, healthy, and well-organized, you’ll be in a much better position to assist others.