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The Art of Saying No: How to Set Boundaries at Work To Increase Your Productivity

Picture source: Enterpreneur

Saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that matter most to you. By focusing on areas that align with your priorities, you can get more done in just one day. Saying no is part of truly focusing on the projects and people that matter most. However, this is often easier said than done. Saying no is an art form that really takes practice. It's an art form that some have perfected while others shy away from. We can almost guarantee that you can be more productive in your day and in your life by learning to set better boundaries – starting with saying no.

If you say yes to everyone and everything, you're living on someone else's agenda, not your own. As you feel more comfortable saying no, start by reducing the number of things you say yes to in a given day. Make sure you do the following:

Say no to distractions

Hundreds of little things are competing for our attention at any given time. This doesn't even include your phone ringing or other interruptions that can happen at any time. You may not be able to control all the distractions, but you should try to limit them as much as possible. Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” while you perform important tasks. Turn off the news and stop scrolling through social media when you're home and focus on something else. Limit your attention to things that often distract you.

Say no to people who bring you down

It's great to be around friends and family who are going through tough times and everyone goes through things. You may have experienced a dip in your mood after being around someone who complains. You can't control the attitudes of the people around you, but you can choose to spend less time with them. If you have emotional vampires in your life who tend to suck the optimism and enthusiasm out of your day, it's time to reduce the time you spend with them. Don't ask them to make plans and find yourself busy the next time they ask. You aren't obligated to spend your time with anyone, especially people who just bring you down.

Say no to beginning new projects

Often, success is more about the things you say no to than the things you say yes to. To have real focus on your most important things, you'll have to say no to some other areas. When it comes to work you may not have much of a choice, but you should still review your bandwidth and current project load before committing to new work. You don't want to sign up for work that you can't really give your best effort to. In your personal life, think about how new commitments will add to your life and align with your values.

Say no to unnecessary decisions

By reducing the energy spent on small decisions, you can free up energy for bigger decisions. Find ways to have less choice in the small, everyday things. What to wear, what to eat for breakfast, how to get to work, etc. All of these things add up every day, and narrowing down the options available to you will make your life easier. Review your daily schedule and see what decisions you can automate or reduce.

Say no to useless meetings

Protect your time by saying no to unnecessary meetings and making sure you don't schedule them yourself. If communication can easily happen via instant messaging, try that first. Pick up the phone or walk to someone's office. If you're invited to a meeting and you don't understand why you need to be there, send the organizer a note saying something like, "I'm just making sure I can actually increase the price." treated here. Unless you are truly collaborating or making decisions that will impact the direction of your department or business, you probably don’t need to have a meeting. Elaborate PowerPoint presentations can be impressive, but not to the people sitting through them thinking about all the other things they need to do that day.

Source: Shift

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