Happy New Year

With the new year we often start off with looking at new goals and aspirations for the year. However, when we then try to implement them into everything else we have on we can often end up feeling overwhelmed and this can mean we give up on our goals. One thing that will help us to feel up more time and energy is saying no to the things that  we don’t want to do.

However, we often find it difficult to say no to some things, especially things at work, yet ironically find it hard to say yes to things we really want to do.

Why don’t we want to say no?

Not saying no often comes from numerous fears and limiting beliefs which can include:

  • Fear of upsetting the person who is asking
  • Fear that if we say no once we won’t get asked again
  • If you are a people pleaser like me it is naturally hard to say no as you have said yes for so long
  • Fear of missing out
  • At work there is often a fear that we don’t appear reliable if we say no to something
  • Belief we don’t have a choice

Things to say no to:

We can’t always say no, especially at work, but when there is an opportunity or a way to make something more effective it’s good to take it:

What can we say no to?:

  • “We’ve always done it that way” – get rid of ineffective tasks
  • Unnecessary meetings when a quick 5 or 10 minute chat could suffice or someone else from your team is already attending.
  • Responding to messages outside of working hours – set your boundaries.
  • Requests that don’t feel right – check in with yourself what isn’t clicking
  • Extra work if your workload already includes extra work – remember quality not quantity
  • Work that is better suited to someone else

How to say no

Whilst there are only two letters to the word no we often struggle with what we say. How we phrase a reply makes such a difference.

Once you have got a good reputation for getting things done it can work against you – people expect more, ask more of you but can also use it to your advantage – however it can also give you more leverage to say no to tasks for a good reason as you are already seen as reliable and a hard worker.

Things to consider when saying no:

  • Get the full facts before saying no so you can understand the requirements and therefore explain why it is not possible/ right for you.
  • Ask for time to think about it if would help
  • Explain the actual reasons, they don’t need war and peace but make sure it’s authentic, people understand and you won’t get caught out
  • Offer an alternative if you can, you may not be able to do all that is being asked of you but could you do some of it. Are your skills suited to particular elements of the project?
  • Say it face to face, written word can take different meanings
  • If it’s to your boss, with your reply could explain what you were intending on working on to open up the opportunity to discuss workload and priorities.
  • If it’s to a client, allow them to share their thoughts, respond with your plan and address their concerns

When you are struggling saying no to someone in particular:

If you are struggling with a particular person you are finding it hard to say no to take a step back and consider the following.

  • What is it about them that you are struggling with?
  • Have you had any similar situations in the past and how did you deal with those?
  • Consider this in perspective, how important is it for you to say no
  • Remember your why – what will you gain by saying no? What will you miss out on by saying yes?

In my Facebook group, Wellbeing Workout at Work, we are looking at this topic more during January and one of the members quoted this saying she heard on a course: “When you say no to someone you are saying yes to yourself”. A brilliant reminder of what saying no to can give you. Feel free to join the group to share tips and questions on wellbeing at work.