Do you struggle with saying “no”? Do you take on too much, or allow others to take your time? When that happens, it is easy for your plate to become overloaded. With just 24 hours in a day, sometimes that is not enough for what everyone asks of you and for what you need.
Saying “yes” to something means saying “no” to something else
When you say “yes” to one more work project, that may mean saying “no” to dinner on time with your family. “Yes” to a new “drop everything and focus on this” request from the boss may mean “no” to meeting an existing deadline.
Learning how to say a respectful “no” is a skill everyone should learn. Some of us are just “yes” people out of habit, sense of obligation or eagerness to please. But over-scheduling or over-committing doesn’t do anyone any good. Our eagerness to say “yes” comes from a good place, but in the end, it can leave you feeling exhausted, stressed and burdened by your schedule. Saying no is a good skill to develop so you can stay healthy, avoid burnout, focus on your priorities and perform at your best.
How do you say a respectful “no”?
Everyone’s favorite manners writer, Anna Post (greatgrand-daughter of Emily Post) has some tips for perfecting this important skill:
1. Don’t ask for details. Once you get into a conversation about what time you’d need to arrive, how long it will take, the location of the event/meeting/appointment etc., it will seem like you’re saying yes even if you aren’t intending to.
2. Don’t place qualifications on the commitment. When you say something like “I’m only available Tuesday nights” it sends the signal that you’ll commit to anything on Tuesday evenings when in reality you’re really expressing how busy you are that you only have one evening to spend doing the things you enjoy.
3. If you’re still having trouble saying “no,” ask about the future. A respectful “no” can still be a yes…someday. Try something like, “No, I can’t help this time. Ask me again in the summer.”
When you are faced with the decision of saying “no” to something at work, this blog post details six tips you can try.
Or, try the “yes, and…” technique
We like to share the “yes, and …” technique as an alternative to saying “no”. If you are a people pleaser, it is easier and more fun to say “yes” than no.
“Yes, and …” is a conditional “yes”. For example: “yes, I can drop everything and do that for you now, and it means that this other project you had asked me to finish today will need to wait until next week. Do you agree that this is what you’d like me to do?” or “Yes, I can help you with that, AND, I’d be able to get it started next week; does that work for you?”
“It’s About Time” to honor your boundaries of time management
Can we help you learn to respectfully honor your boundaries for better time management? Reach out today to schedule your free, no-risk Discovery Call! We can share tips and strategies that will help you maximize the time you have each day!
Also, we invite you to join our “It’s About Time” virtually productivity program, where our September webinar topic will be “Time Management Essentials – Getting the Right Things Done”.