How often have you said “yes” when you really wanted to say “no”?
If you have a hard time saying “no,” you’re not alone. The late Harriet Braiker in her book The Disease to Please says it’s not uncommon, and she offers ways to change your behavior to break your automatic response of “yes.” One I especially like is to delay giving an immediate response. Give yourself time by saying, “Let me think about it and get back to you in the next day or two.”
You don’t have to say “yes” to everything. If you do, you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed by all you have to do. And it’s hard to say “no” after you’ve already said “yes.”
The next time you say “yes” and regret it, write down what you wish you had said instead. Then practice saying it out loud. This really does help. The following are some phrases that might work for you.
- Work related
- What is your deadline? Will tomorrow at 2 p.m. work instead of today?
- I can’t do it, but here’s what I can do: _______
- This is what I’m working on right now _________. Do you want me to set it aside to do this new project?
- I’m flattered you asked. I really admire your organization, but my schedule just won’t allow me to accept.
- I’m overcommitted and not able to take on any more projects.
- I’m sorry, but that’s not something I do.
- Sounds like fun and I’m sorry I’ll have to miss it.
- I wish I could, but it’s just not possible at this time.
- Thank you for thinking of me, but I just can’t fit it in right now.
The feeling of relief you get when you say “no” to something you really don’t want to do or have the time to do is amazing! That’s not to say you should never say “yes.” I’m a big believer in volunteering and helping others. But be realistic about what you can do without getting overwhelmed.
Copyright 2018 Susan Kousek
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Susan Kousek is a productivity consultant and speaker.
To find out more about her programs and services, visit www.BalancedSpaces.com or call 703-742-9179.