Friday, December 12, 2008


The idea may sound strange but being able to say ‘no’ is fundamental to mastering Time Management.
Yes, you have the master plan for time management. You have everything worked out. You have a time table which you stick to religiously. And you have a ‘to do’ list as well. But just when things are beginning to work out fine, a client or friend comes your way and asks you to help them out by doing certain jobs. (Moms, we’re talking about the concept of “over volunteering” here!).
The person smiles and showers sugar-coated words on you, and before you even
know what hit you, you have said “yes” and agreed to do the work for the person.
Now what is the relevance of your well thought out timetable? Where is your scheme for time management? Your work is waiting in the office while you are running around or school, church, scouts or someone else. And it’s all because you could not say 'no'. How many times have you had a similar experience?
I’m not saying that you should not be involved. If you find a friend in distress and have the time to spare, by all means help the person. Who knows, tomorrow you might be in that person’s position and you may need somebody’s help. If you have the desire to volunteer for your children’s activities, decide in advance how much you will commit to and stick to your guns. But that does not mean that you should let people take advantage of you. If you are going to help a person at the expense of your work and schedule, then you are going to end up in hot water. It is human nature to shirk work and if word gets around that you are a very helpful guy (read that as s-u-c-k-e-r) then before you know it, requests
for help will be coming from all sides. Note: This also applies to clients. Good customer service is one thing, being a doormat is another.
Unless you want to take up where Mother Theresa left off, put your foot down and say “Sorry, but I just don’t have the time.” Behave like a diplomat. A funny definition of “diplomat” is a person who can say the nastiest things in the nicest way. So that is just what you have to do. Be a diplomat and the next time someone approaches you with sugar-coated requests to help out, smile back at them. Give them a sweet smile.

And then tell them that what you are going to say is going to be difficult for you. It is something that will plunge you into the depths of despair and all that. And then put it painfully across, “No, I’m terribly sorry, but N-O.”
And then when the person leaves your presence with a crest-fallen face, wait till he or she is out of hearing range and then you can start that happy dance.
Face the facts, in today’s world of competition, your business’s very existence may depend on your ability to say “no.” And its miles better being confident and respected than being a doormat.


  1. You nailed this one! I could not have said it better. Nice post, especially for this time of year.

  2. Some people just can't say no. It's really quite easy to do. I was a manager for many years, so I knew how to say no.

    I love your new header. Sorry it's taken me so long to get here. First Entrecard was down, then google was down. What a day.

    Have a great evening. Big hug. :)


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