Being unproductive and behind, always running to catch up with commitments, feeling like no matter how hard you work, you aren’t getting any more time for yourself… sound familiar? It’s true for most of us, and for each of us it usually comes don to one single reason: We don’t know how to say NO. Saying No to the requests of others is an activity many people find difficult. There are many emotional and social consequences attached to it — it’s much more easily said than done. But, it’s vital to getting more accomplished each week.
Saying NO isn’t about shirking your commitments. It’s about the small requests, favors, and minutes-to-spare you hand out. These ‘little’ requests can eat up all of your precious time.
- It doesn’t fit your job description
- Your goals don’t mesh with the request
- Your time is fully budgeted to important tasks
- The request helps you procrastinate
- You will suffer in terms of time, money, tasks, or other resources
If requests from others are important to you, then they should already be included in your weekly or daily plan.
How to Say No
Saying NO is hard. It can make you feel guilty, obligated, or responsible to the person who is making the request. Perhaps you’re a “people pleaser” who derives self-worth from coming to the aid of others. These are understandable conditions, but your own success is at stake here.
The thing is, saying NO doesn’t have to involve you being mean, inconsiderate, tough, or stubborn. What it does involve is setting healthy boundaries for you and your plans.
- NO is a harsh, abrupt word that doesn’t fit a polite response. Instead, choose a phrase that works for you, like “I’m going to have to pass, it doesn’t fit my schedule and priorities.”
- DON’T say “maybe”, or offer a non-decisive response in an attempt to avoid conflict. Those always come back and haunt you later.
- Offer an alternate solution, such as a suggestion how the individual can complete the task on their own or with help from another resource
- Be confident. Keep your day planner updated and handy at all times as a valuable tool for knowing your daily and weekly schedule
You could take the cheesy way, it works too: Your aren’t saying NO to other, you are saying YES to yourself. Yes, it sounds like motivational-speak, but it’s truthful: Your plans come first.