If you’ve ever found yourself swamped with tasks, invitations, and commitments, it’s often because you’ve found it hard to say ‘no’.

This is something that the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, knew all too well:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.
Steve Jobs

Basically, Jobs emphasised the importance of turning down tasks and projects to maintain focus. In fact, he believed that innovation didn’t just come from brilliant ideas but from resisting the urge to chase after every good idea.

The result? Revolutionary products like the iPhone.

But it’s not just about big business decisions. This principle applies to our everyday lives.

Remember that time you agreed to join that club, attend that party, and help with that project, all in one week? By Saturday, you were probably a zombie from exhaustion. While it’s great to be involved and help others, overcommitting can stretch us thin and lower the quality of our engagement in each activity.

This is something Dr Adam Grant talks about in his book Give and Take. He said that while it’s commendable to be a ‘giver’ and help others, doing it without setting boundaries can lead to burnout. And, let’s be real, a burnt-out you isn’t helping anyone.

In fact, constantly saying ‘yes’ and overloading ourselves can lead to stress, which has a cascade of negative effects on our health, from sleep disturbances to a weakened immune system. Plus, cognitive studies indicate that multitasking, or juggling numerous commitments, can impair our ability to think clearly and make decisions.

So, there’s a lot of power in just saying no.

Greg McKeown, in his book ‘Essentialism’, explains this nicely. He emphasises that saying ‘no’ is crucial in deciding where our energy goes. By saying ‘no’ to things that don’t align with out goals, we can concentrate on what truly matters. Whether that’s our family, our health, or our side hustle.

So, while saying ‘yes’ can open doors, saying ‘no’ is the guardian of our time, energy, and focus. It allows us concentrate on what’s genuinely important and give our best to those selected endeavours.

It’s about quality over quantity.

So, the next time you’re tempted to automatically reply with a ‘yes,’ take a moment. Evaluate if it aligns with your priorities and if you can truly commit to it without spreading yourself too thin. Sometimes, the most empowering and productive thing you can say is a polite, but firm, “no.”

After all, in the wise words of Paulo Coelho, “When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you aren’t saying ‘no’ to yourself.”

Quote of the Day

Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t. With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive.
Angela Duckworth

Tool of the Day

🗂️ Trello

Trello is like having a friendly assistant that neatly arranges all your work onto visual boards. Whether you’re tackling a personal project or working with a team, Trello shows you everything at a glance – from what’s due next to how much progress you’ve made. And the best part? You can drag and drop tasks around just as if you were moving sticky notes on a whiteboard.