Efficiency Psychology: Learning How To Say “NO”

Too many of us who struggle with efficiency and productivity are actually grappling with being over-accommodating. Just because we have the skill or ability to do something that someone asks us to do, we jump in to help them. Oftentimes we accept engagements and agree to do things simply because we are asked to – to our own hurt.


The truth is that you don’t have the time or energy to do most of what you’re doing.




The answer is because you don’t understand a basic truth that I am currently rebuilding my entire life on. Both in the area of efficiency and in the financial advice I give to my friends and loved ones, the main idea is the same:

EVERYTHING you spend or expend is an investment. What are you investing in?




If you spend your money unwisely, you will invest in your future poverty as well as potentially future bad health, isolation, and other really negative things. What are you investing in with the time you spend and the energy you expend on what you’re doing (usually below value) for others? The stuff that you’re not getting paid for or being underpaid for? The favors? The outings that you really aren’t even interested in? WHAT ARE YOU INVESTING IN?


If the answer isn’t something you really believe in, STOP. Most of you will tell yourselves that you’re investing in ‘people’ or ‘your future’ or something else abstract and immeasurable. The truth is that most of the time most of you are investing in being liked by others, and that’s crap. Hopefully you’re not fooling yourself and thinking that you are investing in yourself by making others happy or making their lives easier by making your life temporarily harder.


That’s not real and it therefore doesn’t work.


You cannot truly invest in something that doesn’t grow into a specific thing when watered. If you invest in the markets, you expect to receive capital gains if all goes well. That’s the way it works. You won’t reap happiness or good health from that – the only thing solid, measurable  return you can get on a financial investment is money. That’s the truth. If your time and energy investments cannot be quantified in real, solid terms you’re kidding yourself and you’re wasting your most vital resources.



Let me be clear: I’m not telling you to be a selfish douche. I happen to be an ordained minister – giving to those who cannot (and sometimes will not) give back is what I’m all about. Jesus all day; really. But that doesn’t mean that God wants you to waste His valuable time with users and time wasters and things that don’t glorify Him or grow something useful that you can eat or use or reinvest. That’s not charity; that’s wasteful. And if you remember how Jesus and His disciples collected twelve baskets of scraps after He fed thousands of people with only two fish and five dinner rolls, you know that being wasteful isn’t God. Don’t blame your time wasting on Jesus. I used to do that; He kindly let me know that was all on ME.


To try and do everything you’re called upon to do just because technically, in a vacuum you have the skills or the desire to do it all is called self-righteousness. You’re limited. Do what you can based on whether or not your expenditure is a wise investment for you. That doesn’t mean be a selfish jerk. It means you have to really think about who and what will profit from what you’re doing and whether or not that who and what is important enough to you and your bottom line to invest in it, because investing means losing on the front end.  Seeds are edible; you can either eat seeds or plant them. But in either case, you lose something on the front end. Judge wisely concerning what’s worth it.


Time is the only resource you cannot replenish – once it’s gone, it’s gone. Are you investing it wisely?


David Allen, the self-help king of productivity, says it best – “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” Start living by that truth and you will immediately increase efficiency, guaranteed.

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I.C. Jackson is a web marketing professional, and your new friend, sharing experiences and research with other friends who are determined to increase efficiency in all they do. Learn more about the author and how this blog got started here. We're gonna beat inefficiency together, guys.

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