Some of us have difficulty uttering that little two letter word. Several times during my life, I’ve found myself with way too much on my plate simply because people asked and I always said “Yes” even though I really wanted to say “No.”
I finally learned how to allow that “No” word to slip from my lips rather easily. Once I gained that ability, I was back in control of my own time being able to spend my limited and precious minutes and hours on things that were important to me and my family. Things that I needed and wanted to do as opposed to what other people needed and wanted me to do.
If it is hard for you to say “No” to people, my suggestion is to start out small. Get used to hearing yourself speak that all important word aloud. You don’t have to be rude but you are responsible for your own time and maintaining its preciousness.
Begin to clear your plate of tasks that you really are not dedicated to and simply do not want to spend any more of your time on. Let obligations end and do not renew them. Explain that you no longer can commit the time. Find a replacement person for yourself if helpful.
I had an acquaintance ask me one time to participate in some type of a program he was trying to start. It was for a good cause and because I knew him, I listened to his plea and he ended up saying he would like to have me involved.
First off, I thanked him for considering me for his program committee. I agreed it was a worthy cause and that what he was trying to accomplish was admirable. AND, I wasn’t able to participate as I had other things I was working on.
He kept pushing, “If you think it’s so important than why won’t you help?” I repeated and explained that I was unable to help at that time. He grew quite upset and continued to borderline guilt me into accepting. It became quite obvious that he had a passion for this cause to the point that he expected everybody else to be just as passionate as he was about it. I calmly explained that there was not nearly enough time for me to be involved with all the issues that I thought were important in our communities, in our country and in our world.
Learn not to give reasons. You do not have to go into detail why you are saying no. That leaves the requester in a “negotiating” phase which makes the saying of “No” harder and harder because you want to please that person, or get him/her off your back. Simply state firmly, “No. It doesn’t fit well into my life and goals at this time.” And, if the person pursues, politely repeat your response. There is no need to discuss your reasons.
If you find yourself volunteering, working, doing things that just do not move you anymore or you continue to do them purely because you have always done them or they feel comfortable or seem easier to just do them rather than put out the effort to stop — those are crucial ones to examine. Become an expert at saying “No” so you recover your finite time to work on what you feel is important to you now. It has to be your choice as opposed to someone else dictating to you how you should spend your time.
Be very cognizant and honest in your evaluation of what is truly necessary admitting when you are doing too much, doing things for the wrong reasons, or when it’s clear that enough is enough.
Excerpts from Your Action, Your Success: Motivating Yourself to Get Things Done. Find out more here: Your Action, Your Success
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