When You Say NO to One Thing, You Say YES to Another!

Are you struggling to make progress towards your goals?

First, take another look at the goal. Is it really YOUR goal? Something you are passionate about?  If not, this could be why you are struggling to make it a priority each day.  However, if this really is your burning desire goal, the issue is probably time management. You may just have too much on your plate to devote the time needed to accomplish your goal. Learn to say “no”.

Often, we find ourselves saying “yes” to please others. However, because we are already overcommitted, we do a mediocre job on the new task and our priorities take a back seat. When deciding to add something new to your schedule, ask yourself,

[Tweet ““Will this task get me closer to my goals?” If not, then say “NO.”@systemsavvy “]

If you find that you often say “yes” to a new activity or task because you are caught off guard – try using this wording to buy you time to really decide if this request is something consistent with your values and priorities.  “If you need to have an answer right now, I must decline.  But if you can give me 24 hours to check my schedule and get back to you, I may be able to accommodate your request.”

When you’ve determined that the new activity doesn’t fit your priorities, decline the task firmly and concisely.

Some wording you can use,

  • “I’d love to help, but that just won’t fit into my schedule.”
  • “This just isn’t my area of expertise; maybe Sue can help you.”
  • “I’m over-committed right now and I just wouldn’t be able to give this the time it deserves, so I’ll need to pass. Please ask me again in the future in case my schedule opens up.”
  • If you feel you must say “yes”, put some time constraints on it, “I can only commit one hour to this project on Tuesday.”

Remember, it’s easier to say NO now, and change your answer to YES later, rather than the other way around.

In the words of John C. Maxwell – “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.

What words have you found helpful when declining a task?  Which situations have you been caught off guard in?  What challenges or successes have you had declining tasks?  Please post a comment below!


(image credit Stuart Miles)