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3 tactics for avoiding burnout and being more productive

Mary C Schaefer | June 23, 2016
Old habits die hard. Sometimes they over-complicate our days because we don't take the time to look at them. Real professionals look at the little things and how they can leverage them for big results.

Learn to say no without saying no. A number of us work under the impression that we have to do everything that is asked of us. I’m not even talking about when the boss assigns a task.

Consider these questions when someone makes a request. Don't say anything out loud yet.

1. Does it need to be done? (Yes, that's the entire question.)

2. Does it need to be done by me?

3. If so, does it really need to be done when they say they need it?

4. Is the level of quality they are looking for necessary?

I started using these questions to guide me during my last few years in corporate America. I estimate 75 percent of the time the task requested wasn't needed. The requester just needed to talk it through.

Don't ask the questions in a scripted manner. Keep them in mind in the conversation. The order is important.

An easy way to start is, “Tell me more about what your are looking for.” Or … “What outcome are you going for?” The requester is particularly happy when they realize the task doesn’t need to be done at all. You’ve just created some goodwill and potentially have freed up an enormous amount of time to work on your projects to advance your goals.

It’s simple, but not easy.

I didn’t say it was going to be easy. Yet, you may find a nugget you can apply that will make today better, and then make the next day better. Before you know it, your performance is viewed at a different level. Pick an easy one, for you, and give it a try.


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