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6 Approaches to Saying NO and Controlling Your Life


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There are never enough hours in the day to get it all done. We can feel overwhelmed with all the “to do’s” on our list. One for most difficult, but very obvious option is to  simply say NO. It will take some practice, but once you learn to say no more often, you start feeling in control of your life, your time and much happier.

Here are 6 approaches to saying  no

1. The “No, but…” approach

If you what is asked of you doesn’t really work for you at the moment this is a great way of saying or writing no. Give them a reason why you are saying no. For example: “I am consumed with launching my new website right now, but I would love to get together once the site has launched. Let me know if we can get together next month.

2. The “Let me check my schedule and let me get back to you” approach

This option allows you to have time to evaluate the the request without feeling rushed to make a decision on the spot.

3. The awkward pause approach

This approach is meant when someone asks you to do something in person. Take a moment and know that you don’t have to give an answer right aways. Take a pause. Count in your head 5 seconds. 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi… Pause, take amount and and evaluate. Understand that you can say no. You an also stay silent until the person requesting a favor fills in the awkward silence ;-)

4. The email auto responder approach

If you are engrossed in a large project use an email auto responder. We us them when we go on vacations, and they are absolutely acceptable. Why not when we are working on larger projects. Here’s an example: “Dear Friends, I am currently working on an online course which has put enormous burdens on my time. Unfortunately I am unable to respond in the manner I’d like.  For this apologize.”

5. The de-prioritize approach

When we already have a full plate and a manager or client adds something else on it, ask them to make the decision what project or part of you should de-prioritize. You want to do a good job, but with the time restraints and a new item on the plate you can’t do it all well. Let them make the decision what should take a back seat.

6. The “I can’t do it, but ___ may be able to to do it” approach

Sometimes when we are asked to do something it only matters that it gets done, but it doesn’t matter who does it. This is a perfect time to suggest someone else doing it, by saying “I can’t do it, but Tom may be able to do it.”

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