Why is it important to say no to simple things!

Posted by in Engineering Management, Thought

Often, my colleagues and peers have complained that I say no even before listening to them. People do find it to be an arrogant and rude behavior. Today I want to share the chain of thoughts which goes behind saying an absolute No even before listening to the entire context.

When you have worked in an industry for a while. Everything which is going around looks similar to work done in past. Experience is something, which is hard to explain, but trust me that is one of the best things you could get. Nothing is more valuable than experience. Many times, when a person starts the conversation, you know exactly where it is headed. When this happens to me, I know that there is no point even discussing this and I end up bluntly saying No.

Our brain has limits

It’s very important to understand your brain. It’s not unlimited. Like every matter in the universe has its threshold, so does your brain. Understanding that is very important otherwise you will burn yourself out. Now that there are limits, it’s very important to use it very wisely. I was reading this book called ‘The art of good life” . There is a chapter in the book “Five seconds No”. When someone comes to you with an idea or favor, give exactly 5 seconds on it. If you know that it is something which doesn’t fall on the list of priority Do not invest your brain any further and say No. Why? Keep on reading.

List of priority

It’s very important to have a list, in which every item is sorted in order of priority. No two items should be at the same priority. Practically you can’t do two things at same time. Apply the same logic which you would have applied when executing the item. Always have clarity on the top 3 items on your list. When someone comes to you with an item, have a look at your list and vaguely think where would you place. If you think it’s not making first 3 then you just simply park it to prioritize it for later. If you follow this principle, you will always know where you need to be and much more confident and sorted, because you know where you are heading.

There is always another way

It might happen, that the other person who brought this to you say, that it’s very simple and important. For the simple part, I ask this if it’s so simple why don’t you do it yourself, I will provide you will all the access. For the important part, I ask him, where does it fall on the list of priority things that guy has. Often people don’t have their list of priority and end up weighing everything as Highly important. This is exactly where things mess up. See the world around you, humans are still alive. The reason they are alive is that of their survival instinct. They have always figured out some way or the other for situations, which was considered critical. Innovation happens, when you hit the limit. If there was light in the night, the bulb would have not been invented. If there was surplus coal, hydro/solar energy would have not been invented.

Why simply say no to simple things?

In this world where you have a lot of things, to do it is these simple things which take the most of your time. They seem like very simple, but trust me if you accumulate them together, you won’t realize how much they have cost you in total. Example: If you are a frequent traveler, think about of time you spend waiting for luggage at the airport or in the queue while boarding the plain. If you are not, think about the amount of time you have to spend waiting for changing mode of transport when traveling from Point A to Point B. Sometimes simple things are necessary, and you don’t have an option, but when you do have an alternative or afford the alternative, I will recommend choosing it. Example using a business class would save at least an hour on the entire journey and much more than time, it would save a headache. There is no end to the amount of money you can earn/lose but you can’t earn back your time and energy you had to spend on it.

The same is applicable to the things you can do in your organization or business. Example: Read Engineering is Expensive This takes a comparison of engineering and operations in business, But this can be applied b/w any functions.

You can’t do everything in your life. So never try to do everything, but do the things which are much more important and valuable, which will give you an experience which you would have not got otherwise. Use your exhausted time to do things, where you don’t have to use your brain.