This is the time of year when life seems to get really hectic. We are often pulled in many directions with family commitments, work requirements, and social obligations. Yet some of us cannot stop ourselves from agreeing to every request for help that comes our way. When we say "yes" all the time, we can tax ourselves beyond what we can bear. We may even end up resenting people we help. But, most importantly we may miss the "yes" opportunities that really matter like spending time with family over helping with one more bake sale for the community center. But how do we say no?
I am not immune to the "yes" disease I mention above. I always seem to have too much on my plate. I recently did a full time MBA program while also working a full time attorney job and helping out with another side business when I could and, oh yes, I also started a blog. I was taxed to the max professionally and it certainly effected my relationships with my family and friends. I have said "no" to a lot of opportunities but most of the time I got it wrong and said "yes" to way too many things I probably should have turned down for my own health and sanity and out of respect for my relationships with those that really matter.
So what are things we can do to help ourselves "just say no" (and please know I am telling myself this too!):
1) Remove the guilt. Do not think you are not a good friend or a good person because you turn down someone. Let them know you care about them but that the timing for you is not convenient based on other obligations. Sometimes this one is the hardest for me to do and I usually cave here...
2) Rehearse saying no ahead of time so you won't cave in at the last minute or waffle about whether you will help or not.
3) If the request for help is spur of the moment, do not immediately respond. "I'll think about that and get back with you" is always appropriate. It also gives you time to process and check with family and on your other obligations to make sure you are availabe.
4) Time is also a friend in this circumstance - delaying an answer raises the possibility of no. But be mindful that this may leave others in a quandry to find replacement help if you have given the impression you may be available.
5) Don't blurt out the "no." Soften your voice so the no comes across as sincere and does not hurt the feelings of the other person. But if you do say yes, by all means do it. Let your yes be a yes and your no be a no - do not be in between. Those are the people everyone else will resent for being a waffler and someone you cannot count on.
What are your "just say no" tips for our fellow readers who struggle with over-committing? May we each give a "no" so that we have time for a "yes" that really matters this week!
Pic Courtesy of Pinterest.
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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