Jun 062017

To Be More Productive, Learn To Say No Way

One of the biggest keys to being more productive is learning to say “no way”.

There are so many distractions in today’s world that it’s not enough to just say no, you must add a little emphasis for the sake of clarity – make it “no way”.

I say that somewhat jokingly, but if you take a moment to think about your typical day, how long is the list of things you (should) say “no way” to, if you want to be productive?

For me, the list is very long and it includes:

  • Unproductive phone calls (some phone calls are necessary and ok)
  • Unproductive meetings (many meetings are a complete waste of time!)
  • Too much time on social media
  • Too much television
  • Waking up too late
  • Doing busy work that is not related to my goals
  • The list goes on and on.

I would assume you have a similar list of things that you should be saying “no way” to that really hinder your productivity.

So, the question is, how do you put an end to these distractions, so you can be more productive each and every day?

In my opinion, the best approach is to try to limit unproductive tasks to a maximum of an hour a day and try to schedule them for right after lunch. The reality is that our productivity typically takes a hit right after lunch, in any case, as our body struggles to digest the food we’ve just eaten. Why not use that down time to indulge yourself in a couple of activities that you cannot allow to be time wasters when you are at the top of your game?

To the extent possible, given the colleagues and work environment you’re dealing with, try to be as direct as possible about scheduling certain activities right after lunch. Obviously, you’re not looking to offend anyone, but it also shouldn’t really reflect too negatively on you that you’re trying to use a simple strategy to make yourself more productive.

Beyond saying “no way” to activities that you know bring down your productivity, another good strategy is to actually schedule your thinking and creative time during periods of the day when you know you are at the top of your game. For me, that time is usually early in the morning, before the phone calls, emails, texts, etc. start rolling in. That time of the day, I can usually get some excellent uninterrupted time that allows me to keep the focus going once I get on a roll with a particular idea or project. It may be a different time of the day that works for you, but once you find it, protect it like you would a safe filled with gold, as it’s during that time when you are likely to do your best work and make the most significant positive impact on your business and your life.

Finally, make sure that in your effort to find ways and a schedule to make yourself more productive, you don’t become “all work and no play”. If you don’t allow yourself some time for rest, relaxation, and regeneration, you will likely find your overall productivity heading in the wrong direction, which would completely defeat the purpose of being more proactive and intentional about becoming more productive! Find time for the activities that you enjoy, particularly those that have to do with nature and with exercise, and you will become even more productive than you would by just saying “no way” to most of the distracting activities that come your way each day.


Paul Morin