“No” means missing out on an experience or turning someone down.
Saying yes is easy though — that’s the glitch.
We say yes because it doesn’t seem like a lot, but it quickly adds up. One activity becomes 10.
Don’t drive yourself into the ground. We can only do so much, and saying no is okay. We want to be able to say yes all the time, but there are times when yes is not the right answer. Here are those times …
1. It’s Not a Priority
Don’t spend time on taxing ventures that don’t matter. Keep your focus. Know who and what comes first. Some priorities are easy to set. You know which relationships matter versus those that are of lesser importance. Choosing coffee with your sister who has been living in Taiwan for the past year is a greater priority than coffee with Jim in accounting.
In other situations, your allegiance isn’t so black and white.
To determine what’s a priority, write down all your tasks assigning a value to each. Assess how long each task will take. If a task has a lower value and requires more effort — make the cut. It’s difficult to skillfully juggle multiple obligations. Knowing what to drop and when will help you keep focus on what really matters.
2. Quality > Quantity
You can’t do it all. Sometimes it’s better to invest more time into a few select projects than many. Producing quality work is typically valued more than a mountain of subpar assignments. After all, quantity means very little if the work is poor. Quantity means even less if you have to redo a project. This logic follows at work and at home.
It’s important to consider the value of your relationships. If you have a sea of “friends” but no one to call when you’re stuck on the side of the road, it may be time to reassess. I have always valued a few strong friendships over countless people who seem more interested in going out than having a conversation.
3. Set Boundaries
People pleasers often fall victim to expectation. Coworkers and friends may begin to assume your answer will always be “yes.” When this happens, people begin to possess your time and efforts with little input on your behalf. When you say no you’re setting a boundary and advocating for yourself. Setting firm boundaries is critical for effective communication. When you’re direct you don’t have to bother with excuses.
4. “Yes” Becomes Powerful
Occasionally rejecting overbearing projects or plans makes your “yes” more powerful. When you make it clear your schedule is valuable, people will be less inclined to exploit your time. Instead, coworkers will work harder to win you over. Friends will be more appreciative of quality time. People become more thankful and less expectant when you say “yes” less. Setting firm boundaries builds confidence and will help you get what you want.
Your time belongs to you. We all have responsibilities that must be fulfilled; knowing your priorities and sometimes saying “no” will provide more time to focus on the important stuff. Set boundaries and make your “yes” something people strive for rather than expect.
What do you say “no” to? —Alex