One of the main tips to increase productivity is saying no more often. People that are always “too busy” always feel like they are not accomplishing their goals, but someone else’s. Plus, being busy means you have a lot of things to do, but not necessarily means you are being productive.

So what do you need to do? Start by saying no.

Don’t take responsibility on things that are keeping you away from your goals, and focus on what really matters. Do not bite more that you can chew.

Feeling busy?

You do have a to do list filled with things you want to get done; you should be very busy doing them. But are you getting anything done? What are you doing with your time? Are you watching too much TV? Cleaning your garage? Making excuses?

Saying no?

You have so many goals that you don’t know how to approach them, where to begin. So you clear out your social calendar, stay at home with nothing to do but whatever is on your list. You have 24 hours just for yourself, just to get anything that’s spinning around your head done.

Are you productive yet?

Either you have a master’s degree in focus and concentration and you are making every second count and by the middle of the day you have almost cleared every single item on your to-do list.

Or, you have achieved nothing. You’ve read your list 5 times, tried to calculate how much time will take you to perform each task. You find other things to do (dishes, sweep, eat) that seem to be as important as the task you never have the time to complete. You turn on the TV to keep “company” and before you notice the time goes by and you are on the same level that you were before: zero.

So, what are you saying no to?

When you clear you social calendar and make time for your own to achieve your personal goals you are saying no to your friends and family. You are saying no to go outside and clear your head, you are saying no to sunlight and fresh air. You are saying no to many things that make you happy. Therefore your goal becomes your enemy and you struggle to accomplish it.

Is no longer the thing you want the most, but the thing that kept you from having lunch with your family, having a drink with your friends and going to the screening of that movie you have been waiting to premiere.

Being frustrated won’t help you achieve your goals. Spending time with your family and friends, watching that TV show that you enjoy (just that one, not 8 hours of shows that you couldn’t care less about) makes you happier and might motivate you.

Get to know your energy levels:

It is different for each of us. Sometimes your loved ones are having a rough time and you want to be there for them, but it wears you out. Go, do it. But be aware of it. Know that this day you won’t have the energy to accomplish your goals, so do something else instead, go watch a movie you a are postponing, read that book on your night stand. Today is not a productive day, and it’s OK.

Does exercising makes your energy levels go up? Then take advantage of it and don’t plan social gatherings after your workout session.

Commuting makes your energy level go down? Plan a relaxing session after a long commute. Don’t try to get things done as soon as you arrive. Breathe in, meditate, recharge.

Say Yes!

Say yes to activities and people that motivate you when in need to achieve goals. Don’t keep a full day of work or a full day of social encounters, alternate. Make every day count for both your personal and working life. Keep your energy level high and you will find it easier to be motivated everyday.