Learn to say NO

Let’s do some fact check. Let me begin by asking a few Questions :

  • How often you say yes when you want to say no?
  • How many times you work on someone else’s agenda instead of setting your own agenda?
  • How frequently you end up doing things which are completely different from your ‘to do list’?

If your answers are yes, you are not alone. You are one amongst most people who do not like to displease anyone. Like any other human being, you want to be in good books of others. Most of us think that if we say no to someone, we risk spoiling our relation with him.

I myself was in this space for a very long time.

I distinctly remember, back in my early days, while I was doing some work, my colleague barged into my cabin and requested me to make some presentation for him. I was already tied up with my work but as usual I could not turn down his request. Without much thought, I agreed. How can I say No?

I kept work aside and worked on his presentation almost the entire day. I was feeling guilty that I am not doing my own assignment. The funny part was that after every hour my colleague would check with me if everything was on track. I realised that I had taken the monkey off his shoulder. Now, I was getting feeling that this was my work and I owe him an answer about the presentation!

Result? My work got postponed to the next day. By the evening, though I got a big ‘thank you’ from him, I wasn’t too happy because I knew that I practically made no progress on my work.

I had to give a lame excuse to my client whom I had committed but could not deliver. That day, I understood the importance of saying NO. I realised that if I want to accomplish my goals, I got to remain focus on my schedule, I have to block my time and attend only to my set agenda.

Friends - We all have limited bandwidth. Especially, as Entrepreneurs, it is very important for us to manage our time well. We all have about 10 working hours in a day. Where do we spend our time will determine our growth, success and income. Therefore, it is essential that you plan your schedule and stick to it without getting distracted by other people’s demands.

An obvious question comes to our mind is that “If I say no, will he not get offended?”

How do I say NO? – Big question!

And here are the possible answers.

There is a polite way to say no. Be Polite but firm. There is no need to be blunt. Frame your response in a way that he gets your point. Let’s say for example you could say :

  • I wish I could take up your work but I have already committed my time to something important
  • I am sorry but I am quite tied up with this project
  • I feel bad but I have too many things on my plate and cannot take up anything more right now
  • I can’t take on anything else now. I wish we had one more person in our office capable of doing this task.

Say it politely but firmly so that the message is clearly conveyed and he does not get offended.

You see friends - Your time is most precious to you. You got to be mindful about where you spend your time. If you work on someone else’s agenda, you will always run short of time to do your own stuff.

So go ahead and Free up your time - Never say Yes when you want to say NO.

Let us take this discussion a little forward.

It’s not just about working on someone else’s agenda. It’s also about making best use of your time. It’s also about channelising your time in such a way that you produce superlative results.

Remember The Pareto principle – The 80/20 Rule?

A mere 20% of your time produces a whopping 80% results and a big 80% of your time produces only 20% results!!

This being the case, you must conscious and aware about this 20% time which accounts for 80% outcome.

You must deliberately engage with clients and in activities that produces maximum results in your business. This is possible only when you consciously cut down your time with clients and activities that are less productive.

If you remain busy with trivial activities or with clients that do not contribute much to your revenue, you will not be able to accomplish massive results. Saying no to all those activities and clients is the most effective manner to increase your bandwidth. It will free you up for bigger opportunities, it will help you to focus on your top clients and give them more time which will propel your growth.

Get into a habit of saying no :

  • Say NO to the projects that are not profitable
  • Say NO to the clients who take too much of your time
  • Say NO the clients who always negotiate on your fees

You need courage to say No. This one skill will give you Liberty to choose what you want to do and with whom you want to engage with. This single ability has the potential to overcome your time management issues and give a substantial boost to your business growth!

So go ahead and say no to the things that do not excite you; that do not align with your higher purpose; that do not get you substantial growth. It is only when you say no to unrewarding tasks that you set yourself for bigger and better opportunities. It will only help you do things that really make you happy and satisfied.

Well, was that helpful? While you start saying no to all the distractions, I will start working on getting back to you with another power-packed, informative and stimulating podcast next week! Until then, good bye and take care!