Why You Should be Saying No More Often
Why you need to start saying “No”
We all have boundaries in our lives, whether it be at work, at home, with family, or with friends. The problem is that many of us have developed the habit of regularly taking on more than we can handle. This is of benefit to no one. Especially you.
We seem to have gotten ourselves into these situations because we want to be a people pleaser. We assume that if we say no, people will be dissatisfied with us, and think lesser of us and our work. However that is not the case. Having clear boundaries is respectable in many aspects, and people will learn to respect these boundaries once they become known.
Taking on more than you can handle diminishes the amount of quality time you can spend on a specific task. It also likely means that you are introducing unnecessary stress into your life. This isn’t what you want. So it is important to focus on getting out of this predicament.
But how do you say “No”?
Being able to say “No” to additional favors or requests is a bit of a skill, and skills become developed with practice. At first it will be difficult to say no. This is because we have slowly gotten ourselves into the habit of saying yes to things that we shouldn’t, whether it be signing up to lead a project when you don’t actually have time, or committing yourself to hosting an event when you don’t have the resources to plan it.
To make saying no easier, it will be important to initially determine what your boundaries are. How much time do you actually have in your day? What do you want to be doing with your time? What are you doing that you need more time on? Whhich activities do you not want to be doing?
Check out my post on Time Management to help you take control of your day.
Being firm with your boundaries internally will allow you to communicate them externally that much easier.
Also there are phrases that you can use that will make saying no easier. I have listed a 5 options below:
1 – “As much as I would love to take part, I just don’t have the time right now”
2 – “I am not comfortable with taking that task on”
3 – “I appreciate you thinking of me for this, but I can’t”
4 – “Can I get back to you once I have looked at my schedule?”
5 – “I can’t at this time, but I will let you know if something changes”
These are just a couple of quick options if someone catches you with a request and you would like to decline it, or defer your answer until you actually know if you can take the task on.
Who should you say “No” to?
Realistically you should be able to say “No” to anyone you want. Except your Mom. But this will depend on each situation where you find yourself asked to take on something else. If a neighbor is asking you to house sit, but you won’t be around often enough to do it adequately, then it is okay to say no. Or maybe you’ve been asked to take a lead role on a project at work, but you have so many other items on the go, you are worried you won’t do a good job. You can again say no, and ask to take on a smaller support role so that someone else can better run the project.
Doing things like this might make you uncomfortable, but at the end of the day you and demonstrating that you know your boundaries, and as long as you are within them, you will produce great work.
When can you say “No”?
When you can say no to additional tasks will depend on the situation, and what kind of boundaries you are trying to set. If you are determined to stop being in charge of extracurricular activities outside of work, then it will be fairly easy to establish your new boundary and say no.
Alternatively, if you are handed something last minute from work that has a short timeline and no one else is equipped to do it, then you will likely have to step up and take it on.
These are calls you are going to have to make in your daily life.
Just remember that learning to say no to additional and overwhelming tasks is one way for you to start taking control of your life. It’s one way to reduce the amount of stress you have on a daily basis. And it’s one way to increase the amount of time you get to spend with loved ones. And eventually it will get easier.