I know doing stuff for other people (Paid or voluntarily) is important for both myself and my community BUT sometimes I go too far, take on more things than I can handle well and start to feel the consequences. So, how can we all avoid taking on more than we can manage ?
If we accept ALL reasonable requests on us we can soon become frazzled, stressed and worn out. At this point we are no longer helping either ourselves or the person we said yes to.
Why do we say YES when we really want to say No ? We worry by saying no that we will be judged negatively and people may think we are uncaring or unhelpful. We are scared of letting people down. We don’t want to be the bad guy and we want to please. We also fear the future consequences.
However, there are also implications to saying yes. We don’t think of these as much, as it seems easier, at the time, to say yes !
Remember that each time you say yes to something you are actually saying no to something else.
There are loads of practical tips out there to help you so I’ve picked out just a few to get you thinking.
* We want to say yes to the things that matter but sometimes we can’t decide that straight away. Perhaps we need to establish further info. At that point we can say “Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you”.
Once we’ve decided we don’t want to do something how can we say this tiny word no and avoid feeling bad ?
* You may say no to the original request but offer an alternative solution that does not sap your time. Use “ I can’t assist on this one but check out this article on …………………. I think it will really help you.” Or “I can’t organise the school bake sale again this year but why not offer it out to the new parents and see if they can help.”
* Be honest. If it’s something you really don’t want to do then say so from the start. If you suggest that you can’t do something because you’re too busy right now then the requester may continue to push for an agreement at another time.
* Turn the request around. At work a boss asks you to take on extra tasks that you feel will overload you. Try explaining that if you are do take on tasks A, B and C on top of your existing workload then it is going to take an extra 4 weeks (For example) and ask “How would you like them to be prioritised? ”.
* This may sound cheesy but if you are uncomfortable with saying the word you may find it useful to practice phrases out loud on your own. This will feel weird but may help you to feel more at ease when you need to use it.
A considered response of “No” helps you stay in control of your time. It does not mean that you are letting anyone down or that you are ineffective, unhelpful or uncaring.
So it is OK to say no. Guard your time so you can use it for the stuff you have identified as being important to you, those things that make you feel good and allow you to give 100% to whatever it is that you have decided to give the thumbs up to.
Have you any further tips to share on “ Saying No” ?