It's smart to say 'no'

It's smart to say 'no' | Insurance Business

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Australia might have a reputation for beer, barbecues and beaches, but you wouldn’t know it in the broking industry.

Professionals work ferociously hard and weekends are often just an extension of the working week, however Greg McKeown, writing in the Harvard Business Review, argues we shouldn’t be impressed. He’s taking on the triumvirate of smart phones, social media and consumerism with his manifesto of ‘essentialism’ – achieving more by doing less. These are the main points:

Essential no. 1: leave the office (occasionally)
Start by scheduling regular offsite meetings. You need to rise above the day-to-day, the trivial, and the cascade of email traffic to genuinely think about future strategy. Many companies already do this, McKeown points out. He advocates the ‘rule of three’: every three months take three hours to think about topics that really matter.
 
Essential no. 2: sleep well
Technically speaking, you can’t actually sleep when you’re dead. You may well have heard of the ’10,000 hours’ rule, popularised by Malcolm Gladwell, which indicates the number of hours of practice distinguishing the good from the great. It just so happens that hours of sleep is the second most highly correlated factor separating the ordinary from the extraordinary, so it’s time to take it seriously.
 
Essential no. 3: set an expiration date
When you take up new activities, you also need to set a time to drop them, argues McKeown. While tradition plays an important role in relationships and memories, you can only have so many. You need to be prepared to enjoy successful events and move on, not let future incarnations clog up your diary.
 
Essential no.4: Turn down a good opportunity every week
This certainly goes against the Hollywood school of life success, but McKeown insists that essentialism should leave you empowered – to say ‘no’. The problem with offers, however generous, is that it takes away your power to decide what is best for you; rather, it presents you with a take-it or leave-it situation. If your time really matters to you, that choice isn’t wide enough.
 
You can read the original HBR article here.