The single word you need most to get more productive is the word no. It’s the word that goes into battle for your priorities.

Being comfortable with no let me decide to suck at email for a few days in late November while I finished off a video course. When I asked myself this question:

What is the one thing I can do this week so that all my other tasks become easy or irrelevant?

The video course continued to be the answer. So I got up for three consecutive days and only worked on the video course.

You can’t just meet anytime

Being comfortable with no lets me say no to clients that want to meet at random times in my day.

It lets me protect my Maker blocks of time and only allow a few Manager blocks of time in to my week. If you want to talk to me, then it’s Tuesday afternoon or Friday. The rest of the week no one gets my time, but me and I focus on the work I have to do.

I suck at…

The fact is that you can’t do everything that you have to do. You have to procrastinate on something. Therefore, deliberately and consciously procrastinate on small tasks – Eat That Frog

The essence of getting lots of focused work in is deciding what you’re going to say no to and what you’re going to suck at.

To get back to Eric, who started this whole series of posts, if he wants to get his programming and writing done, he needs to decide when he’s going to suck at support.

[Tweet “What are you going to suck at this week?”]

Then he needs to be okay with that. He needs to realize that his support person can answer 90% of the questions and let the other 10% slide until later in the day when he can deal with them.

If he doesn’t push his products forward, he doesn’t have products.

If he doesn’t market his products, he doesn’t have sales.

Without doing those two tasks that require lots of focused work he doesn’t have a business.

Stop looking back at days where you have lots of hours in the office and can’t figure out what got accomplished.

With 30 seconds, write down the 2 or 3 things that bring the most value to your business that you do. All you need is 30 seconds. Your answers are unlikely to be different if you had 3 hours.

Then, design your week so that you have large blocks of time to do those tasks.

photo credit: legofenris cc