“No” is a small word with great power. Saying no more often can be hard, but it is one of the best tools you have for putting more time in your life.
Start by keeping your goals in mind. Say no to anything that takes you away from your goals or does not increase your productivity. This doesn’t mean that you avoid unpleasant or difficult tasks. The key is to keep your goals and priorities in focus.
Sometimes, saying “no” isn’t easy. Many people were raised to please others, not themselves and feel that if they say “no,” they will lose friends and associates. So, how do you say “no” without alienating others?
- Speak courteously and politely.
- Make “no” the first word you say and keep your statements simple and direct. “No, I can’t do that.” “No, I won’t be able to do that.”
- Give a reason if appropriate, but keep it short and straightforward.
- Show that you understand the situation. Remind people of your roles and responsibilities.
- State the consequences of saying “yes.”
If you’re not sure whether you want to say “no” or “yes,” ask for time to think it over. Be specific about when you will have an answer.