Smartypantz, taking it one day at a time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No's the Way to Go

No's the Way to Go
There's one magic word that can change your life, give you back your time, and help you lead a happier life. That word is no.

Do you have trouble saying no? You're not alone. But sometimes you have to say no to protect yourself, your time, and your energy.

How do you do this? Here are six tips to help you say no and not feel bad about it:

  • Use "No, thanks."
  • Thank the person for the opportunity before you turn him or her down: "I really appreciate your thinking of me, but no, thank you."

  • Ask for stalling time.
  • Too often we agree on the spur of the moment. When asked to do something, tell the person you need to think about it and you'll let him or her know. Then you can decide whether you want to take on the responsibility.

  • Counter with an alternative.
  • If you're not interested in the job or task but are willing to do something else, say so. This allows you to participate in something you want to do in your own way.

  • Give a reason.
  • Sometimes you have to say no and you've got a good reason for doing so. If you're comfortable sharing, let the person know — or say that you've been overextending yourself lately and need to cut back.

  • Or don't.
  • "I'm sorry, but I can't." That's it. Yes, you'll feel guilty for a few minutes, but think how relieved you'll be afterward.

  • Suggest someone else.
  • You can't do it, but you know someone who might be interested. Pass along the person's name — it may be just right for him or her.

    Your small change for today is to take control of your time by starting to say no to things that don't fit your priorities.

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