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Best Productivity Tool Ever Invented? Easy...


Best productivity tool ever invented?  Easy... the word no.  Robin Sharma.


One of my kids has no problem saying no. When asked to do something and they have other plans, they just say no. There is no apparent inner dialogue or turmoil about whether they should or shouldn’t – it appears to be just a quick internal check-in, and then it’s either a yes or a no with no drama.

I noticed this tendency when they were little, and I remember being in awe of this young child when I was still struggling to say no to doing stuff I didn’t want to do.

What was the difference? I spent time worrying about hurting other people’s feelings, what they would think of me, judging myself for being selfish and contemplating what would happen if I said no!!! No wonder it was so much harder for me to say no – it was so complicated.

Over time I realised that I was secretly trying to control the other humans. Saying yes meant that I could ensure that other people liked me and thought well of me, but we all know that to be a fallacy regardless of how many times we say yes.

And, of course, when I was so busy saying yes to others, I constantly said no to myself and what I wanted. The unconscious message I was sending myself was:  your needs aren’t as important as others. Imagine how that feels over time.

It can be hard to start saying no to others when you have spent years saying yes. It becomes habituated, so our brains don’t even think about saying no.  That means when we decide that we want to introduce the word no into our vocabulary, it can be a struggle.  So, how can we make it easier?

When I’m starting anything new, I like to start small because then it feels doable and not so overwhelming.

I’m not going to start with my boss if that stresses me out. I could decide to say no to the sales assistant when they try and up-sell me at the check-out, or I could say no to my partner when they want to watch another episode of Alone, and I want to sleep.

Try experimenting with saying no this week. What if the goal was to say no three times this week when asked?  Start incrementally using no more often in your vocabulary and notice how easier it becomes.  

The key is to start so let's give you an incentive.  Think about how you could spend your time differently if you said no instead of yes. How would you think about yourself differently if you prioritise your needs and not just everyone else’s?


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