Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Saying No to say Yes to the things that matter

It’s difficult for me to say no to people in general, and friends in particular. Most of us like to help whenever we can. But often I experience how saying yes to others is saying no to me and things that matter. But learning how to say no is a difficult task, and it seems to challenge our value system. But not necessarily.

Saying No to say Yes to the things that matter

The reason why saying no does not necessarily challenge our value system is because saying no is an art and, like every art, it demands skills. In this sense, I was thrilled that Damon Zahariades wrote a book on the “The Art of Saying NO” which I highly recommend.

Damon offers 10 strategies for Saying No and several bonuses on specific occasions where it is important to be free to say no, as much as you’re free to say yes. Of those bonuses, I’d like to focus on the last “How to say no to yourself.”

We all have temptations. Damon says

When you give in to temptations, you become a slave to your impulses. The resulting short-term gratification often comes at the expense of long-term fulfillment.

I’d like to share 4 things tempting me all the time where I think it would be important to learn this Art of Saying No.

 

Saying No to what distracts you

Distractions are the biggest challenge to the way we spend our time. At least they are for me. So, if you feel you don’t have time, pay careful attention to the number of distractions you experience throughout the day. How many of them interrupted an inspiration moment, a deep conversation, a thought. Time to learn to say no to distractions by controlling them before they control you.

 

Saying No to your procrastinating self

How can you distinguish the need for a relaxing moment from a winning moment by your procrastinating self? This distinction is a struggle for me. In the evening I look into my ToDo list and its big 3 essential tasks to find 1 or 2 remains. I procrastinated. Time to learn to say no to the procrastination from within.

 

Saying No to Shallow Work

Cal Newport in his book “Deep Work” defines Shallow Work as

Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

When I read this I felt it’s time to switch the “Do Not Disturb” button and invest in “Deep Work” instead.

 

Saying No to your blocking self-doubt

Can I do this? Am I capable? It’s natural to self-doubt, but it can block you and your creative self if you let it. Don’t. It’s time to say no to the blocking self-doubt and unblock self-confidence.

 

Saying Yes to the things that matter

If you learn how to say no to distractions, your procrastinating self, shallow work and blocking self-doubt; you focus, act, go deep and unblock your abilities to the things that matter. Time for your family. A deeper spiritual life. Boost you productivity. Better relationships. A wise “no” toward a better “yes”.


Question: what do you experience when you find Saying No difficult?

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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