Trending

Filed under: News

 

Do You Need To Learn To Say 'No' This Year?

Jan 10 2014, 2:11pm CST | by

Do You Need To Learn To Say 'No' This Year?
Photo Credit: Forbes
 
 
 

No. It’s a simple two-letter word that can be so difficult to say, particularly when it comes to business. That’s because so many have built their success by saying yes to whatever opportunities came their way and taking on more and more challenges, no matter how daunting.

However, as you become more successful, new opportunities inevitably emerge and more people vie for your time. Your success no longer depends on your ability to prove yourself, but rather your ability to prioritize the many opportunities and requests that come your way. As Steve Jobs once said, “I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”

If your gut reaction is to automatically agree whenever a client has a last-minute request, a co-worker needs help, or a new project comes your way, it’s probably time to re-evaluate your goals and priorities.

For example, let’s say a colleague or client requests your help. It’s a quick task and will probably take only 20-30 minutes of your time. You want to help and it seems rather harmless to pitch in. However, over the course of a day, week, or month, these requests can add up, potentially steering you astray of more important, strategic tasks.

If you’re looking to take more control over your time and schedule this year, here are a few tips to help you hone the powerful art of saying no:

Identify Why Saying No Is So Hard

There are numerous emotional triggers behind our reluctance to say no. For example, maybe you don’t want to let anyone down. Or you might worry over the lost opportunities or burned bridges that could result from saying no this one time. Will you stop getting additional chances in the future? Or perhaps you’d just prefer to avoid the discomfort and potential conflict associated with not being a team player and pitching in.

It’s important to understand and manage the underlying emotions driving your actions. Keep in mind that saying no to one project isn’t about rejecting opportunities; rather, you’re weighing your priorities for a better result. Likewise, saying no doesn’t mean you’re not a nice person; it simply means you have to set your own priorities and boundaries.

More AllBusiness:
The Top 25 Home-Based Business Ideas
10 Websites Where You Should Have Your Company Profile Listed
25 Frequently Asked Questions on Starting a Business
The 10 Most Creative New Business Ideas Out There



Identify Your Core Priorities and Objectives

In order to say yes to what’s truly important, you need to have a firm understanding of your core priorities. Well-defined near-term and long-term objectives can help you frame your daily decisions and to-do list. Will a new project or request help you move toward these short-term or long-term goals, or will they just distract you from your ultimate destination?

Another approach is to set your two must-do goals for the day. Then, say no to any other new request until you’ve crossed those two goals off the list.

Say No and Keep It Simple

Once you’ve gotten a better handle on which opportunities to accept and where you should take a pass, the next step is learning to say no gracefully, yet firmly. This takes practice. Saying no may feel awkward and difficult at first, but becomes more natural as time goes on.

The most effective way to say no is to be as direct as possible. A wishy-washy response (“I don’t think I’ll have time, but maybe I can fit it in”) only leads to confusion and the wrong expectations. Rather, be brief and direct: you don’t need to apologize or over-explain. A simple “I can’t commit, since I have other priorities at the moment” can suffice. Or, if you’d like to leave the door slightly open for the future, you could say something like “I’m in the middle of something else right now, but we can reconnect at x time.”

Final Thoughts

When it comes to managing your time, career, and business, overcommitting yourself isn’t a sign of success. If you’re struggling to say no, think back to all the times when agreeing to take on something new distracted you from your own priorities. How much time, energy, and stress might have been saved if you had just been able to say no?

Read all of Nellie Akalp’s articles on AllBusiness.com.

Related Articles on AllBusiness:
Get Organized! The 9 Best To-Do List Apps for 2014
Time Management: 5 Things You Need to Stop Doing Right Now
How To Grow Your Business By Letting Go
Outsourcing as a Business Growth Solution



For more great small business articles such as The Top 25 Home-Based Business Ideas and Keeping Your Business Ideas Confidential, visit AllBusiness.com and AllBusiness Experts. For local business information on 15 million businesses, be sure to check out InBusiness.com.

Source: Forbes

You Might Also Like

Updates

Shopping Deals

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

NBA: Warriors Beat LA Clippers 109-105 for 1-0 Lead in Playoff Series
NBA: Warriors Beat LA Clippers 109-105 for 1-0 Lead in Playoff Series
The Golden State Warriors beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 on April 19 to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven first round playoff series.
 
 
Customized gold iPhones given away as wedding favors
Customized gold iPhones given away as wedding favors
President of Nigeria had his daughter’s wedding and each guests received a gold iPhone as wedding favor
 
 
Leaked images show off OnePlus One, StyleSwap covers too
Leaked images show off OnePlus One, StyleSwap covers too
The handset has a minimalistic design approach which falls perfectly in sync with the typical Oppo style
 
 
Rufus Cuff seems too big to be a wristwatch wearable
Rufus Cuff seems too big to be a wearable
Once connected, it can be used for mobile data, making calls and sending texts
 
 
 

The Hottest Photos of Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013

 

Viral Stories the Web