How the power of “NO” can increase your productivity

Yes_No ScalesWhat if you were to say “NO” to one thing each day?

Too radical? How about each week or even month? I’m just looking for you to take one step, which I’m sure you’ll repeat and increase in intensity once you’ve reaped the rewards of your first “NO”.

What’s your first “NO” going to be?

– Commitments you can let go
– Appointments that aren’t absolutely essential
– Non-essential to-do items
– Multi-tasking
– Distractions
– Moving quickly
– Doing smaller tasks instead of important tasks

This list was inspired by a post that came across my browser. It was just a simple reminder that you can’t make space for something new, potentially more rewarding, unless you get rid of something old (like a habit). Think back to last week.. and now reflect on the elements of the week that didn’t provide you any added value. What activities just took up space on your calendar, and didn’t provide any significant thrust toward your goals or objectives?

Real world example

For several weeks, a client of mine kept resisting a “NO” challenge. Finally, he said “NO” to everything that he deemed “unimportant / non-priority” for one week. By the end of the week, his e-mail was overloaded and certain commitments his clients were expecting went unfulfilled. A failed experiment? Absolutely not. After a 15 minute debriefing, what he realized was that too many people within the organization hadn’t stepped up to the plate & assumed delivery responsibilities that were within their competency.

An opportunity

He went on to encourage others to go beyond the perceived limitations they blamed for not delivering more. With my help, he worked with these individuals to develop the solutions that were within their reach to satisfy their customers needs. At the same time, I worked with their leadership to instill more autonomy & empowerment across the board.

Results

By the end of the exercise, without any additional investment, we had;

1) gained 25% of productivity for my client, who could now invest this new found time in more strategic priorities and thus adding greater value to his customers.

2) empowered a series of product managers to go beyond their perceived limitations, giving them greater recognition, satisfaction & motivation to deliver even more.

3) shortened the delivery cycle to final end-users, getting them much needed solutions they required to do their jobs better & faster.

These were only the 3 benefits immediately experienced. As in other cases, there are already additional knock-on affects of that first “NO”. Ironically, this is an example of how a “NO” is delivering multiple “YESes” across an entire organization.

Call to action

What’s going to be your first “NO”?

– Commitments you can let go
– Appointments that aren’t absolutely essential
– Non-essential to-do items
– Multi-tasking
– Distractions
– Moving quickly
– Doing smaller tasks instead of important tasks

I would love to hear back from you with the results you experience after this experiment. please come back & post your results so that others can continue to learn from your experiences.

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