42 Things You Can Say ‘No’ To In 2024

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Most leaders feel overwhelmed, overworked, and overcommitted.
But strategic leaders spend 80% of their time doing the things that produce 80% of their results. That’s what helps you thrive and operate at your best.
One way to do that is categorical decision-making: Making one decision that eliminates dozens or hundreds of other decisions. It eliminates groups of people or things that are no longer serving you from your calendar and your life.
For example, this is one kind of categorical decision you can make: Eliminate particular kinds of meetings. For example, stop doing breakfast meetings, lunch meetings, meetings over one hour, evening meetings, or weekend meetings.
It becomes so much easier to eliminate overwhelm when you have categories that you simply say ‘no’ to. As a result, you avoid all the mental floundering— time and energy—involved in thinking about whether you should say yes or no.
When you decide what you won’t do, it frees up time and energy to fulfill your purpose. Case closed. Move on.
On the following pages, you’ll find 42 Things You Can Say ‘No’ To In 2024. Combine a few of these, and you can easily free 100 hours next year; that’s over 4 days of freed up time.
Meetings
  • Breakfast meetings. They take up too much time. It’s never an hour.
  • Meetings longer than an hour. Set the default to 30 minutes for meetings.
  • Weekly meetings that should be bi-weekly.
  • Bi-weekly meetings that could be monthly.
  • Group meetings that don’t require your direct input.
  • Having too many direct reports. Streamline your direct reports to your top 3-4 team members.
  • Off-site meetings to save travel time.
  • Meetings over meals. Even lunch and dinner take up far more time than 30 minutes in the office.
  • “Pick your brain” meetings. These are often pointless.
  • “Let’s just get together” meetings with no defined purpose.
  • Outside meetings that you or your team didn’t call.
  • Meetings with no end time.
  • Meetings on certain days (i.e. I never do meetings on Tuesdays or Fridays).
  • Morning meetings. To protect your creative and thinking time, say no to meetings before noon.
  • Interruptions. When someone knocks on your office door and asks for some time, tell them you’re working on an important project and will see them later.

Energy Draines

It’s not just time that disappears when you make unstrategic decisions; it’s your energy. Some interactions may not take that much time, but they can drain your energy for hours or the rest of the day. When it comes to people, loving people doesn’t mean giving them unfiltered access to your life. Boundaries exist for a reason.

  • Avoiding hard decisions. It’s easy to avoid hard calls. But over time, it drains your energy and can even make you lose sleep. Just make the call.
  • Blame. It’s way too easy to blame others for everything that went wrong. Start accepting responsibility. You’ll save time and get better at what you do. Plus, you’ll be a better human.
  • Bad clients. Release bad clients. Keep the best. They pay on time and create very few challenges.
  • B Players. No more B players in 2024. An A player will outperform them 2x-10x, and you’ll stop losing sleep.
  • Trolls. The block function on the internet exists for a reason.
  • High drama people. Create clear boundaries around high drama types.
  • Energy-draining relationships. Set clear boundaries around relationships that take more energy than they give. Eliminate some, reduce the frequency of others, and always, always, always set clear boundaries.
  • Mindless or endless scrolling. Use the time limit function on various social apps to limit your time, or better yet, delete them from your phone, so you have to be intentional about spending time on them.
  • Social media arguments. Avoid engaging in any online debates that won’t have a beneficial outcome. Or better, avoid engaging in any online debates at all.
  • Comparison. Keep your head down. Do your best work. If you need to compete, compete against yourself.

Administrative Tedium

  • Last-minute requests. Turn down tasks or projects without adequate time for proper execution.
  • Unimportant email threads. Unsubscribe from all low-priority emails.
  • Long emails. When you get a long email (often with no paragraph breaks), don’t respond if that’s an option, or, alternatively, give a short, kind twosentence response.
  • Tasks you can delegate. If you have a team, release them to do their work.
  • Things that could be done by AI. AI is advancing every week. Take 15 minutes a day to figure out how you could better leverage it. This could save you and your team hours a day.

Personal Well-Being (or Lack of It)

  • Cheating sleep. It’s easy to think you’re crushing work because you’re cheating on sleep, but long term, you’re just crushing yourself.
  • Ignoring the signs of burnout. Take a break before you break.
  • Late-night work. If you can’t get it done during the day, it’s a sign you’ve taken on too much or could improve your efficiency.
  • Weekend work. See above.
  • Skipping exercise. Working out or even going for a walk will make you more productive, not less productive.
  • Junk food. Saying no to junk food will almost always give you more energy and avoid the carb crashes and sugar crashes that ruin productivity.

Miscellaneous

  • Hiring fast. Yes, you’re desperate, but a fast hire is rarely a great hire and it costs you far more in the long run.
  • Random texts or phone calls. Just because someone texts or calls doesn’t mean you need to answer right away. Put your phone on do not disturb, and get back to them later.
  • Too many personal commitments. Limit personal activities that don’t align with your larger life goals.
  • Endless research. Limit time gathering information and simply ship the work.
  • Overpromising. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Only commit to what you’re sure you can deliver.
  • Underdelivering. When you promise something, deliver more than they expect and better than they expect. Because you’ve eliminated so many distractions and other time-suckers, this won’t be difficult anymore.

Acting on even a few of these will free up dozens of hours a month. Act on all of them, and you might not even recognize yourself anymore. You’ll have more margin for your family, for your goals, and to pursue some new passions you never had time for before. Learning the power of categorical decision-making is a keystone to helping you live in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow.

Article written by: Carey Nieuwhof

Article taken from here.

About the author
Article written by: Carey Nieuwhof Article taken from here.

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