Why I Say “No”​ Most Of The Time

Productivity Starts With “No”.

Some questions deserve an immediate “yes”.

Like when my daughter asks me to send her invisible parrot on a superhero mission.

Or when my wife asks me to go on solo-daddy-duty tonight while she binge-watches Parks & Rec.

I always say, “Yes” in those situations.

For everything else, I start with “no”.

Photo by Andy Tootell (https://unsplash.com/@andytoots)

Using My Superpower to Protect My Time

Saying “no” is my superpower. It allows me to get the important shit done.

Defaulting to “No” means I can ignore the loudest jerk and focus instead on the most important thing.

Priorities Default to “Yes”

Two very clear priorities always default to “yes”:

  1. Immediate Family
  2. Priority Projects

That’s it.

Everything else defaults to “no”.

You need to clear a hurdle to get a “Yes”.


How are you protecting your time?


p.s. Having trouble saying “No” to low-priority clients, people, things? Send me an email with some times we might be able to chat next week.


  1. Todd Lohenry on March 14, 2017 at 5:32 am

    What’s the hurdle that one has to clear? Can you give an example?

    • Toby on March 27, 2017 at 11:52 am

      @Todd – The hurdle is that you have to be immediate family or one of my priority projects to get my immediate attention. Everything else gets lower priority (or no priority).

      Not saying I nail it 100% of the time, but that’s my goal. 🙂

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