Why Saying No To Multitasking Improves Productivity



No. This simple word carries so much weight. Yet it is one of the hardest words to say. There are numerous articles about the importance of saying no. But why is it important for your success?

Saying no gives you control and ultimately leads to others saying yes.

But why is it so hard to say no? I think we inherently want to please others. We want to give and give because we need the approval of others and the only way to do that is to say yes.

What if I told you, that saying no will gain your more respect and more success?

If you say no, with respect and honesty, you will get respect and honesty in return. Saying no doesn’t put the other person down. You’re taking control of your time to help that person. In return, you will help yourself.

For example, I want to draw. I would love to spend a day with some pencils, Sharpie’s and paper and just draw. But my time is split with the¬†daily grind of my day job, family and whatever else comes my way. So, I make my to-do list and focus on the tasks that need to be done.

I then say no.

When others want me to fix their computer or review something they wrote, I kindly say no, I can’t at this time. It’s that simple.

Say No To Multitasking

Multitasking and saying no are linked. The reason? You need to say no so you stop multitasking because saying no is good for your health, your profession, your leadership, your family, and friends.

Convinced yet? Science shows multitasking doesn’t work. Here’s a short list of some of some failures multitasking and not learning to say no:

  1. Distraction. When you multitask, you are distracted. The human brain can’t focus fully on multiple things at once. Your retention and thought process isn’t clear.
  2. Mistakes. Since you’re can’t focus on one thing, you make mistakes that ultimately hurt your outcomes.
  3. Wasted time. While a great Eagles song, how often do you find something taking longer than it should because you try doing several things at once? You are wasting time by multitasking. So say no to all but the most important things. Then, do the important things one at a time.
  4. If you can’t focus, you can’t remember. I can write a blog post while watching TV, but don’t ask me what I watched or what was said, I won’t remember. I need to say no to the TV.
  5. Stress. Are you stressed because nothing seems to get done? Attempting multiple tasks at once causes you to complete none and then you are stressed because nothing is done.
  6. Relationships suffer. You should equate multitasking with ignoring. If you are focused, I use that loosely, on several tasks at once, you can’t give proper attention to the people in your life. Whether in a meeting, playing with your kids or talking to your significant other, your relationships suffer.

Are any of the items on this list important to you? Think about what you want out of your life.

Think about your creative pursuits. Are you able to find your creativity when distracted? Does it help you to do multiple things at once when creating? I can’t draw and write poetry simultaneously.

We all have 24 hours in a day. Schedule one thing at a time, complete it, move onto the next and you will maximize those hours. You will stay healthy and productive.

Your success starts with saying no.

For another unique perspective on the failure of multitasking, check out this article on Inc.com.


Also published on Medium.

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