Fine Tuning the Art of Effectively Saying Yes or No
I have a hard time saying the word no. I like to be involved in projects and I like to be in a position to help people, but sometimes not saying no can add a whole lot of stress to your life. In the year and a half I have lived in Seminole County, if my memory serves me right, I have responded no to only one question or request asked of me. I may have not competed all the tasks that my yes responses have added to my to-do list, but I am working on them, and so far, I have yet to voice that definitive no.
Even as my to-do lists tasks have increased in number, I still do not like the idea of saying no; however, I have developed more effective ways to delegate and to say yes. It is odd that one of the shortest words is also one of the hardest to say.
Learning to say no is an ongoing concerted effort for me. But I’ve been working on getting better at being bold, firm and finding more effective ways to participate than responding with yes. I have to remind myself that it’s not only better for me, my time management, my goals, and my mental well being, but that it is also better for the person asking something of me. If I’m not excited about it, or if I don’t feel like I’m the best for the job, it’s better for me to send them on to someone who will be excited and ready for whatever they are asking. In life, there is one fact that is without a doubt true: your time is priceless. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that time is spent on the things most important to you and your long-term priorities. Are you using your time in a way that reflects your values, talents and skills?
In order to help you make sure that you use your time meaningfully, I’ve compiled a list of creative ways to suavely decline the requests of others. Although it’s important to offer your time and support to those around you, whether at work or in your personal life, it’s also paramount that you sometimes say no for the benefit of the project as well as your own goals and sanity.
I hope that these easy responses help you to take more control of your time and your schedule. Here’s a list of fifteen ways to say no, some of which I am seriously considering using in the future.
1.) Unfortunately I am unavailable at that time. 2.) I’ve got a lot on my plate, and I wouldn’t want to give you any less than my best. 3.) We could do that. Or… we could ask, insert name here who would be more effective. 4.) Your excessive use of exclamation points in your email frightens me. 5). I can’t talk about this until after I’ve had two cups of coffee. 6.) I’ll have my people call your people. 7.) For the low, low price of one billion dollars… maybe. 8.) I no longer work for free- Verizon has a pesky habit of demanding to get paid monthly. 9.) I no longer take on projects that cause my soul to wither up and die. 10.) That’s not really my thing. 11.) My assistant handles my project management. What do you mean I don’t have an assistant? 12.) You should talk to insert talented other person, I’ll hook you guys up. 13.) Thanks for asking but no. 14.) I can’t believe you asked me that, no. 15.) No!
I mentioned earlier, that last week, for the first time I could remember I said no without even thinking about it. Actually the word no, and maybe a colorful metaphor or two, came out of my mouth before I even took my next breath. Virginia Harrison asked me if I would be a contestant in a reverse beauty pageant. My answer was a very strong, forceful and proudly definitive NO!
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