You can’t be all things to all people and still be productive. If you have said, “Yes,” to too many commitments, you’ve simply spread yourself too thin and you won’t be able to get anything done, at least not in the best quality or on time.
Requests for your time come all the time, through phone calls, emails, IMs, or even in person, and so you need to grasp the fact that saying no is critical to your success. In order to minimise your stress and stay productive, you need to learn the art of saying NO; it’s an art which a lot of people have trouble mastering.
It’s hard to say no, because it’s not easy to risk hurting or letting down other people. It’s not the most pleasant task in the world. You also want to have a good relationship with others, especially when you work with them often. A “no” can place that at risk. But, the key to knowing when to say no is to know what’s important to you. When you know your priorities, you’ll know what to turn down and what to take on. When you say no, you put up boundaries to protect your efforts to achieve the success you want to achieve.
Here are reasons why you should say NO more often:
You want to protect your priorities.
You may have people coming in left and right asking for you to help them with something. While it feels great to know that these people see you as someone who’s capable and willing to help them, the reality is you can only help so many people with the time you have. When you can’t control how you use your time, it’ll slow you down and get you off track.
You want to protect your sanity.
Saying no can help you remain calm and relaxed. When you have too many things going on, it can be easy to get stressed and to be overwhelmed. If you say no on a regular basis, you won’t feel like so many things are going on all the time. It can be liberating and it can save up your mental energy for something you need to do.
You want to protect your time for something that’s more beneficial for you.
A “yes” to something less important is also a “no” to something that will take you closer to your success. By becoming good at saying no to low priority things or things that won’t bring you so much benefit in the long run, you’re actually making room in your schedule for something better to come into your life.
Two tips you can do to master the art of saying No:
First: Create a “Don’t Do” List.
While a “To-Do” list tells you what to do, a “Don’t Do” list tells you what you should say no to.
Second: Implement a “No First, Then Reconsider” Policy.
This policy will help you clarify what you will and won’t be willing to do for other people. It’ll make it easier to make decisions, especially for tasks that are urgent, but not so important.