Learn How to Focus by Saying No
CareerZOT Talk by Kathy Seaton
“I'm on it.”
“Sure, I'll have
it done by the
end of the day.”
happy to take
that on for you.”
Our default setting is to reply “yes” to
each and every request that comes
across our desks. But should we say
“yes” when we really mean “no?”
It's a fatal trap that we fall prey to.
We're the yes men—and we're
undeniably the sucker for punishment.
Everyone comes to us knowing
that we will be agreeable because
we don't want to let them down.
And it sets the precedent that we will
perform, at all costs.
There seems to be some self-satisfaction
that we can “pull it all off.” If we
don't learn to say no, we will never
reach our goals or full potential.
Finding focus is what we need to do
to avoid distraction and a loss of
We need to say yes to ourselves, not
someone else, to realize the win-win
proposition for ourselves.
It takes work to execute focus. But
despite the investment required, it's
worth it to experience professional
and personal growth.
So, let's give the “no-way man” a try
and move forward with a few ideas
- Know your priorities and limits.
Efficiency, productivity, and creativity
suffer when you have too much on
- Consider the emotion reaction
we have to saying yes. We're here to
please and we're optimists by nature
because we're the “doers.”
However, to make a change we
need to avoid our immediate
emotional reaction and use our
logical mind to think before we act.
- We need to use our rational minds
to stop and evaluate the pros and
cons of the situation and how our
project load aligns with our goals.
And if the load is too heavy, anything
that isn't a priority or doesn't move
us ahead should be left by the way
The goal isn't to just be good—it's to
be better. The only pathway to real
success and prosperity is focus.
Steve Jobs said it well, “Focusing is
about saying no.”
Read more at ce.uci.edu/careerzot