How to Save Time by Learning How to Say “No”

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Welcome back!

Do you have a lot of people putting demands on your time? Seems like every time you turn around, your co-workers, boss, children, family, friends and neighbors need something from you. And when you’re so busy taking care of everyone else’s needs, you don’t have time to work on what YOU want to do (such as your goals and to-do list).

That’s why you need to learn to say “no” to these demands on your time.

Now before we go any further, let me say this: You don’t need to say “no” to every request. For example, you probably don’t want to say no to many of the requests coming from your immediate family members. However, maybe you just don’t have time to help your cousin move or drive your friend to the airport. And maybe you don’t have time to cover for a co-worker at work. These are the cases where you need to say no.

As such, the first thing you need to do when you get a request is to determine the priority of this request. That is, how important is it to you? If it comes from an immediate family member (such as a child), it’s probably a high priority for you too. You can handle the request yourself or ask another family member if they’re able to do it for you.

At other times you’re going to get requests from friends, family and co-workers that you don’t rate as particularly important to you. These items may be important to the person who’s asking. Indeed, you may even feel a little guilty if you say no, especially if you know this request is pretty important to the other person.

But remember this: Your goals are pretty important too. If you respond affirmatively to every request that people make of you, then you’re basically saying that everyone has activities going on in their lives that are more important than your own. That’s because if you say yes to everything, you’re going to run out of time to work on your own goals and to-do list. And that’s not fair either.

Maybe you’re a people pleaser. Maybe you’re the type who hates to say no because you feel bad. If so, keep these tips in mind the next time you need to say no:

  • Someone else’s lack of planning shouldn’t become your emergency. In other words, it’s not your responsibility to clean up other people’s mistakes. It’s not up to you to drop everything just because someone else planned poorly.
  • Beware of those who try to manipulate you. Some people will try to make you feel guilty for not doing what they want. If someone is trying to emotionally manipulate or blackmail you, that’s a sign that this person really isn’t that good of a friend.
  • You don’t need to explain yourself. If someone asks you to do something, simply say, “I’m sorry, but I’m unable to do that for you.” You don’t need to give a reason why, as offering a reason just gives the other person something to argue about.

Bottom line: When you get requests that you do not want to handle or cannot handle without some sacrifice, just say no. If you feel bad or guilty, just remember that your goals are just as important as the other person’s goals, so you need to take care of yours first. It’s all about priorities.

That’s it for this time. Next time you’ll learn how tools can make you more efficient!

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