Like most people, you probably like to help people out if they’re in a bind, especially if it’s your boss or your bosses boss. So, telling people “no” is a really hard thing to do. We all suffer from it.
Tip #4: “No” is not a four-letter word
When times are tough, people will ask you to do more. In fact if you haven’t had someone come into your office today and ask for help with a project completely unrelated to your week’s priorities, you probably will. So here’s the rub. Unless you’re in a sole-proprietorship, you’re probably working with other people. And those other people will need your help, just like you will need theirs.
In most cases I believe it’s important to help people when they ask for it, especially if you have some expertise they could benefit from. It’s good karma and they’ll be more willing to help you in the future. However, there are times when you just can’t do it all. You’ll know when these times are. And if you can sense that the request isn’t “mission critical” just say no. The other person will survive and, if they have any sort of morals, they won’t be offended. Plus it will keep you from getting distracted on your week’s plan.
If you have to say no, you should provide the requestor with some ideas of how they could accomplish their task. Refer them to someone who might have more time and the skills needed. You may also try and schedule their task later in your week when you have more time to spend on it. But don’t make “no” a regular part of your vocabulary. It could damage relationships over time and damage your reputation in the organization.
Saying no is a very liberating feeling. Try it today and you’ll find out what I mean.
Next time we’ll cover the final tip: Find Time for Yourself Each Day
Author: Matt Murdoch, FranklinCovey
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