It is a well-known fact that in order to be productive, we have to manage our commitments. If we spread ourselves too thin we will lose focus and reduce our productivity and usually the quality of our work.
The hardest part about saying no is that it can hurt, disappoint, or even anger the person you’re saying no to, and most of us prefer not to confront these kind of issues. Instead we just continue to say yes to appease those asking. However, with requests for our time constantly coming in we have to decide what items are more important than others in order to complete the tasks. Some of this can be at the detriment of focusing on the most important things which could include specific projects, ourfamily, or even our health.
So the question is, how do we say “no” without jeopardizing the relationships with the person(s) asking for our time? Here are a few tips to help you say “no”:
- Know your priorities! If you are aware of all your current and possibly upcoming priorities you can more easily assess whether you have extra time to take on more. The big question is that if you have extra time where do you want to spend it? The answer to this may be extremely different from what someone else would like you to spend your time on. You have to choose which one is more important to you.
- Value your time! Now that you know what your priorities are, you have to then assess the items that you have already committed to. Your time is valuable and you have to manage that time very carefully. If someone asks you to help them and you know that your time is already committed you need to communicate this to them. For example, you can tell them “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.” If they know that you are already overloaded then they should understand that you can’t take on more.
- Don’t apologize! Apologizing can make you sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about knowing your limitations and the time you have available.
- Practice Saying No! As we have all heard while growing up, practice makes perfect. So why not practice ways to say no? Maybe even record them and listen to them as if you were the one being told no and see how it comes across to you. Just remember, the only way to get control of your commitments is to take control of them.
Most people have a hard time saying no, especially to their bosses. Just keep in mind that if we say yes to too much and have a hard time completing all of it at a high quality it can look worse to your boss. However, if you can explain to your boss the reasons why you can’t take on more and that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. The main key, in my opinion, to being successful when saying no is communication, communication, communication.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future topics, please send me a comment below! 🙂