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One Word That Instantly Improves Your Productivity

Productivity results from doing the right thing, doing it well, and doing it in a timely fashion.

Our productivity can be made or broken just by what we say – both to others and to ourselves. Our words have power. How we use those words can make the difference between success and failure, between being productive or not. The one essential word we must know how to use effectively to instantly improve our productivity and results is…

The Power To Say NoThe word “NO”.

I realize that some people are good at using the word No and others are not. Those who use No well are usually more productive and more successful than those who don’t.

Saying No is perhaps the most concise, direct, and powerful way for you to boost your ability to get things done. Its application will lead you to the crossroad where you have a decision to make. Maybe is not an option.

I read this the other day:

“When you don’t learn to say No, you end up disliking yourself, as well as the people you are trying to please. In some cases we have difficulty saying it because we’re afraid people won’t like us.”

Know any people-pleasers? I do. I’ve hired a few of them. They are often not the most productive people. Their performance lacks and they actually aren’t helping themselves or those they are trying to please.

Let’s be honest. You cannot please everyone!

Don’t like rejection? Get over it! I had to. I realized that what other people think of me is none of my business.

Saying “No” takes courage!

It means you are able to address your own unmet needs and respect yourself. It ensures you keep your priorities in order. It helps maintain your integrity, ensuring that you are being true to yourself.

When you say No, you lessen your overload and stress. You don’t have to do it all – you actually can’t do it all. Increase your control and discipline. Say No to anything that isn’t a priority.

Here are just 10 applications of the word No that will instantly enable you to get things done faster, with more focus, and better results:

1. Say “No” to Doing Other People’s Work.

If your plate is full, say so. Another person’s emergency does not necessarily have to become yours too.

2. Say “No” to Indecision.

Trust your gut.

3. Say “No” to Trying to do Everything.

You likely have enough to do. Delegate tasks and projects to those who are capable. It develops them and frees you.

4. Say “No” to What You Suck At.

You are not good at everything. Outsource tasks and projects you suck at or aren’t worth your time.

5. Say “No” to TV.

According to recent research, the average person in the North America watches up to 35 hours of TV per week. Imagine what you could do with turning it off or at least reducing it?

6. Say “No” to your smartphone.

Turn it off. You can live without it for an hour or two. When you need to get stuff done, your phone can be a distraction and disrupt your flow.

7. Say “No” to Unscheduled Calls.

Ever had a call that you answered that wasn’t important and it killed your productivity? Take only scheduled calls.

8. Say “No” to Social Media.

Social media can be a boon or a bane. It can easily be addictive, time-consuming, and wasteful. Be disciplined. Allow only 5-7 minutes per hour. Use a timer.

9. Say “No” to Worry.

Worry is counterproductive. Worrying steals your energy and your focus.

10. Say “No” to your “Snooze” Button.

Get up when your alarm goes off. Stop using the “Snooze” button. Stop the rush.


Whilst a Yes may build your career or business, know that a “No” builds you.

Say No to at least one thing per day that distracts you from your success.

Dr. Richard NorrisDr. Richard Norris
Richard is the founder of Leading Men Only, where he is fulfilling his passion to empower and equip men to lead better at work, rest and play. Richard has learned how to be productive as a husband, father, competitive swimmer, veterinarian, army officer, MBA, unemployed and award-winning business and executive coach. He recently released his latest eBook, Get It Done! 101 Quick Tips How To Get More Done In Less Time Especially When You Are Stressed, Tired & Overloaded. Richard lives by the adage a healthy body is a healthy mind. And… just so you know he is a Canadian residing in Scotland!

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