As the days were getting shorter and the temperatures getting colder, I wanted to try something different to be in touch with you more often and to bring you some short and sweet tips that could help us all be happier, healthier, and more productive. The result was NO-vember–a month long video series over on LinkedIn with one tip each day about something you could say “no” to that would change things for the better.
For those who didn’t see the campaign, or who missed a few along the way, here is a mashup of all 30 tips.
And here’s the final list.
How did NOvember go?
- Say “no” to resentment. Resentment only makes your life miserable and doesn’t do anything to change the person who upset you in the first place.
- Say “no” to notifications. These little bings, banners, and buttons are taking you away from what you want to be doing. Turn them off.
- Say “no” to procrastination. Procrastination doesn’t necessarily increase your workload, but it sure does increase your thoughtload…and nobody needs that these days.
- Say “no” to taking on other people’s accountabilities. If they need your help, ask them to specify exactly what you can uniquely provide. Give them what time you can without derailing your own priorities.
- Say “no” to cc’s on emails. If the person doesn’t need to do something with the email, don’t send it. If they need to see the message for a different reason than everyone else, send them their own message specifying what you need from them. More on fixing email here.
- Say “no” to smoothing things over. You’re just getting into conflict debt, which is going to slow down productivity, erode trust, and exacerbate stress. Help people get the issues out in the open.
- Say “no” to unsolicited advice. It takes you off your game. Instead, learn to ask for feedback that’s tailored to what you’re working on in the moment. Ignore everything else.
- Say “no” to dumping work on people. You can’t legitimately call it delegating unless you’re providing context, defining what good looks like, and setting the boundaries for autonomy.
- Say “no” to perfection. Because it’s not attainable and wouldn’t be worth the effort if it were.
- Say “no” to dehydration. It’s bad for you. And if it’s bad for you, it’s bad for the people around you. Drink up.
- Say “no” to one standing meeting that just needs to die. At the very least, shorten a meeting, or attend only part of a meeting. Claim some time back.
- Say “no” to spectating in your own meetings. You’re on the team for a reason. Even if you’re not the expert, you need to have everyone’s backs. Watch for assumptions, ask for clarification, add some value.
- Say “no” to the echo chamber. Get some new ideas and new thinking into your head.
- Say “no” to minding your own business. Minding your own business is allowing all sorts of bad behavior to continue. Don’t mind your own business–get in there. Help your colleagues get to the other side of their conflict.
- Say “no” to using the phrase, “I HAVE to.” There aren’t very many things in life that you HAVE to do. You choose to do them because they’re good to do, or because the consequences of not doing them are aversive. But when you say to yourself, “I choose to do this,” it makes even the worst tasks much more palatable.
- Say “no” to judgment. It just gets in the way of connection and communication. Be curious, not judgmental.
- Say “no” to other people’s incessant requests for your time. Thanks to guest Laura Gassner Otting for that one. Check out her book Limitless to get more of her wisdom about living your best life.
- Say “no” to imposter syndrome. The world needs your ideas, stop telling yourself they (and you) aren’t worthy.
- Say “no” to the fifth glass of champagne, meaningless work, and guilt (Marshall Goldsmith was a fountain of great “no’s”)
- Say “no” to using the term “fail fast.” You’re confusing people. Help them understand what savvy missteps look like but don’t unwittingly encourage sloppy mistakes.
- Say “no” to giving advice. Don’t be an advice monster. Be a coach instead. This great “no” was from Michael Bungay Stanier–be sure to pre-order his awesome book The Advice Trap)
- Say “no” to low-value, automated emails that you subscribed to but never read.
- Say “no” to overthinking. This surprising advice came from someone who should know. Liz Wiseman was awarded the top prize for Leadership globally at Thinkers50.
- Say “no” to goals. According the David Burkus, goals aren’t as useful as deciding what you’re going to show up to every single day. Plus, we got a bonus “no” from Jill Schiefelbein, who told us to say “no” to activities that don’t work for us both personally AND professionally!
- Say “no” to being nice and instead, worry about being kind. There’s a big difference between the two. Culture expert and host of The Culture Lab podcast, Aga Bajer reminds us that kindness sometimes requires us to be uncomfortable for someone else’s benefit.
- Say “no” to time suckages. No back-to-back meetings. Reclaim your time and your focus. Thanks Dan Pontefract, we needed that “no.”
- Say “no” to always calling on the same people. It’s the voices that we don’t hear all the time that are going to help us innovate. Amii Barnard-Bahn has been helping to get those voices heard–thanks Amii!
- Say “no” to being smart. Wait, what?! Yup, Richie Norton makes a great case that when we’re trying to be smart, we’re really just worrying about failing. That’s when we you get in your own way. Embrace the stupid!
- Say “no” to meetings on Fridays. You need time to think, and reflect, and let the connections form in your brain. Safi Bachall know a lot about these connections–he’s the author of the fantastic book Loonshots, which I am saying “yes, yes, yes” to at the moment.
- Say “no” to invalidating people. Listen. Connect. Communicate WITH people, not AT them. There’s so much to learn and so many problems to be solved if we could just be interested in somebody’s truth other than our own.
It was so much fun doing a video every day in NOvember. I’ll give everybody a break for a bit, but I’d love to hear what you thought of the series and what types of content you’d like to see more of in the future. Please let me know.