If you really want to be productive in life, start saying “no” to these 12 things

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You’re using productivity apps and to-do lists.

You’ve been waking up at 4am, too.

But why is it that you’re still struggling to beat deadlines and achieve your goals?

Well, it’s probably because you’ve been doing things you shouldn’t be doing!

Here are some things you must start saying “No” to if you want to be truly productive in life.

1) ”Just  one beer”

We know this is a myth. 

Unless you have self-discipline and you know how to set boundaries, one beer can quickly become three, then five, then ten.

I mean, imagine all the time (and money) you could have saved if you only said no to late-night drinking and “one beer” after work.

Let’s say you have “one beer” three times a week, and you spend 2-3 hours per session, that’s already nine hours of your life!

I’m not suggesting you should never hang out with friends and colleagues, but don’t make it a habit if you really want to be productive.

2) “Five more minutes”

Ah yes, another myth.

We all know there’s no such thing as “just five minutes”. It’s actually thirty minutes or one hour or even two!

If you hear yourself saying this when you’re supposed to be out of bed, snap yourself out of it. Get up! There’s no such thing as “five more minutes.”

If your colleague wants to talk about random stuff for “five minutes more” at lunch, then remind them when five minutes have passed.

It’s cool if people who say this actually make sure they stick to five minutes, but that isn’t usually the case.

3) Doing “small” favors for others

Helping others is cool.

But if you’ve become everyone’s go-to person that you have no time to help yourself achieve your goals? Not so cool.

This might come off as heartless but, unless there’s a real emergency, you have to say “no” to others so you can say “yes” to yourself.

4) Netflix and chill

One TV show could last seven hours. 

Now imagine if you only devoted that time to working on your projects?

Watch movies instead.

Or if there’s a TV show you’re really interested in, make sure you watch it only once you’re done with your important tasks. 

TV shows are designed to make us hooked, so don’t start an episode until you truly have free time.

5) Too many events and parties 

It’s important to attend the events that really matter to you. After all, we’re not put here on Earth just to work!

But if you say “yes” to every invite because you have FOMO, or just because you’re so shy to say “no”, then you’re wasting time.

Learn to say no gracefully so you can focus on the things that you have to do.

Plus, attending parties takes more time than you think—how much time do you spend making yourself look good? Going to the location? Going home?

6) Working together

Working or studying with your friends might be fun and inspiring, but it doesn’t work for everyone.

If you’re like me and you need to be completely alone to focus, then coworking might not be for you.

But if you really want to join your friends and colleagues, then I suggest you do deep work where you can focus (at home, in the office), so that you’ll just do basic tasks when you’re with them.

7) Late-night fast food run

Well, if you eat around midnight, you probably won’t be sleeping till it’s 2 am.

And if it becomes a habit, then you’ll always be sleeping late and waking up late. 

Lucky for you if your peak hours of working are later in the day, but if you have to work at 8 am, then good luck with that. Your productivity will suffer immensely.

Just say no, no matter how tempting it could be to bite on a burger at midnight. You can bite your pillow instead.

8) 10-step skincare routine

I’m really not a fan of this trend. 

Why spend 30 minutes applying products on your face when it can be done in 5 minutes? 

Don’t we have better things to do?

Beauty companies don’t just want to waste our money, they want to waste our time!

Simplify. Use your time on more important things like getting productive (because hey, stress from rushing a deadline can cause wrinkles!). 

Trust me—you don’t need a lot to look good.

9) Gossip

Can a single second of gossip improve your life? No. Can it ruin it? Definitely. We all know this!

But it’s sometimes difficult to resist juicy gossip—especially if it’s about people we know.

If you want to become successful (and a good person), you have to cut that habit. It doesn’t do you or anyone any good and it’s a total waste of time.

Total the hours you spend listening and sharing gossip, stalking people on social media, thinking about them.

Why spend hours thinking about the lives of others when you can just focus on your own life?

10) Drama

I’m not talking about real relationship issues here because that’s part of life and you should indeed address that if you want to be more productive

After all, you can’t focus if you’re sad or angry or guilty.

What I mean by “drama” are the petty fights that really go nowhere. They’re just catfights and attacks that don’t help improve anyone’s life!

Stay away from this as much as you can if you want to be productive and successful. 

Distance yourself from dramatic people, don’t involve yourself in situations where there could be tension, and if you’re the dramatic one—get therapy.

You have dreams and goals. You don’t have time to waste on drama. Save them for when you’re 85.

11) Working on ideas that don’t make sense

If you think an idea doesn’t make sense, then simply say so.

That way, you can find ways to make it work, or you can come up with a good compromise.

The point is, you don’t have to spend countless hours working on ideas simply because you’re not assertive enough to say it sucks.

Don’t waste your time…and theirs. Say “Nope, not gonna work. Sorry.” and work on better ideas.

12) Awesome opportunities (on things you don’t really like)

Let’s say real estate really isn’t your thing and you KNOW it.

But then one day you get a call from your friend offering you to work with him flipping houses. He said you’ll be earning $5,000 weekly and you’ll only have to work 10 hours a week!

You can’t say “no” not because you’re shy, but because you thought “Hey, with that amount of money, I could learn to like it!”

But then, after spending thousands of hours trying your best to like it, you realize that well… it’s REALLY not for you. 

1000+ hours down the drain just to know something you already kinda know.

You could have just said no and focused on the things you truly like to do instead.

Last words

Productivity isn’t just how much stuff you do.

It’s how much stuff you do for the things that truly matter.

You probably feel productive but you aren’t because you’re putting too much stuff on your plate.

Get rid of the ones you don’t need—say NO to each one of them. And I guarantee you, your productivity will increase by 1000%.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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