#1 Skill for a Productive Life

Nina Wieretiło
11 min readAug 15, 2022

“Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution toward the things that really matter.” — Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

This article is a short recap of one of my speeches on productivity. Please get in touch if you would like to arrange this kind of talk at your event.

Generalists vs specialists

Some people call me a one-man band. It is indeed useful to be a generalist with multiple skills, able to complete various types of tasks on one’s own. Being the “Jack of all trades” is a must-have for solopreneurs — people who set up their own business which is bootstrapped (no external funding) and are forced to do everything on their own (at the beginning, before they are earning enough to employ people) by default. I do not want to generalise but oftentimes, people in corporate jobs get used to enjoying the benefits of specialisation — the better they get at their narrow field (say, marketing or sales), the higher the rewards in their field (both in pay and position), and hence the greater the incentive to stay focused there. In contrast, in most cases entrepreneurs need to be generalists and I think that the benefits of this kind of skill set spill to life beyond work.

Importantly, though, being a one-man band is a double-edged sword. Once others realise you are quite successful, they will want you to join their orchestra. They will realise — “I can have