James Clear
The Ultimate Productivity Hack is Saying No.

In can be tough to say no. Not only can we end up feeling guilty for refusing, but we are left wondering if we missed out. It’s tempting to say “yes” to every opportunity just in case it’s the best use of our time. But it rarely, if ever, works out this way. In fact, as James Clear points out, the opposite is usually true.

The words “yes” and “no” get used in comparison to each other so often that it feels like they carry equal weight in conversation. In reality, they are not just opposite in meaning, but of entirely different magnitudes in commitment.

When you say no, you are only saying no to one option. When you say yes, you are saying no to every other option.

I like how the economist Tim Harford put it, “Every time we say yes to a request, we are also saying no to anything else we might accomplish with the time.” Once you have committed to something, you have already decided how that future block of time will be spent.

Habit Stacking – How to Build New Habits by Taking Advantage of Old Ones.

Wouldn’t it be nice if building new habits was as simple as brushing your teeth or taking a shower? This is the principle behind habit stacking; the concept of anchoring a new desired habit to an existing, well established one. James Clear explains:

You probably have very strong habits and connections that you take for granted each day. For example, your brain is probably very efficient at remembering to take a shower each morning or to brew your morning cup of coffee or to open the blinds when the sun rises … or thousands of other daily habits. You can take advantage of these strong connections to build new habits.


When it comes to building new habits, you can use the connectedness of behavior to your advantage. One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called habit stacking.