The Art of Strategic Avoidance

I’ve never been one for the endless ‘how to be more productive’ articles that flood our newsfeeds. However, there is a notion that we need to embrace if we’re to grow more effective in life, or, help other people to become more effective in life.

Productivity is rarely an accident that happens without planning and much preparation. It is regularly the outcome of our dedication to personal excellence, thoughtful planning and concentrated effort.
If you’ve ever known anyone who is genuinely good at being productive in their efforts, you’ll likely find them to be a severely committed individual who avoids all the unnecessary things they neither want or need to be doing.
Productivity isn’t alchemy: it’s a discipline. Strategic avoidance is the art of eradicating the noise from our lives and cutting out all those who’ve already proven themselves to be an unhelpful distraction or a hindrance. Becoming a strategic avoider is like embracing a new superpower that equips us to become super productive.
Albert Einstein once said: 

“An intelligent person solves a problem whereas a wise person avoids it to begin with.”

– Albert Einstein


Start Saying No – Strategic Avoidance 

Sometimes the key to our productivity and personal effectiveness lives not in what we do, but in what we don’t do.
People achieve extraordinary things with their lives when they avoid all the non-essential items that distract their attention and dilutes their focus away from fulfilling the great deeds they aspire to.
Successful people don’t answer the phonecalls they don’t want to answer, not do they reply to the emails which aren’t worth their time or spend hours scrolling aimlessly through social media. This is because successful people learned early on that no one is entitled to anything from them: they aren’t obligated to give anyone their time, money or energy if they don’t want to. 
Achieving meaningful things in life depends on saying “no” to things people want us to say “yes” to, and saying “yes” to things others have historically said “no” to.
When we say “yes” to acknowledging all the requests that enter our inbox, we consequentially say “no” to ourselves and our life pursuits or endeavours. So, let your “yes” mean yes, and “no” really mean no.
Saying no more often can come at the risk of being regarded as indifferent, unhelpful and self-centred. However, strategic avoidance is a purpose-driven, success-oriented and highly disciplined approach to life. Becoming a strategic avoider authorises us to cut everything out of our life that isn’t going to play a role in elevating us from where we currently are to where we eventually want to be.
If you would like to become more productive in an area of your life today, what or who do you need to start strategically avoiding?


Kain Ramsay
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As an established teacher of personal and professional growth principles, and a champion of mental well-being, Kain Ramsay is regarded as one of the world’s foremost thought leaders of modern applied psychology.