How many times are you asked to do something you neither want to do, nor need to do? I’m sure it is quite common. In this world of volunteer work, charitable foundations, needy friends and relatives, and activities, the effective use of the word no becomes vital to the average individual. Certainly, we want to provide our talents and time to these worthy causes, but we have to be able to also look after our own affairs, and have time to relax. If you have difficulty saying no to these or other requests, this article is for you.
Remember that you are not required to be the be all/end all of every event—While I am certain that your talents are absolutely unmistakable, and you are capable of doing wondrous things, remember that half of you is still effective. Offer some of your time, not all of it. If the church needs you for the weekend bazaar, then offer your services for a time block of a single day instead. It will still be helpful, and you will still have some time for yourself and your family. The bazaar will go on, and it will survive without you being there for the duration.
Find the causes that you connect with, and stick with them- If we donated our time to all the charities that need it, then we would literally go bankrupt. Each year, find two causes that you feel in your heart. The cause we most readily identify with bring out our best efforts, and we tend to stick to them. If you grow apart from one of the charities, then replace it at that time. If you are solicited outside of your selected charities, then request some literature, and tell them that you have your charities for the year already, but you will consider them in the future. No guilt is required on your part, and no one is offended.
Remember that explanations aren’t needed—When someone is asking a favor of you, you are under no obligation whatsoever to explain an answer of no. If you feel so compelled, keep it brief and to the point, but friendly. No is the other side of yes, and you don’t explain your yes answers, do you?
Keep your priorities in mind–Hopefully, you have an idea about what is important to you. If not, go make that list now. That list can be vital to your well being in the future and it can arm you with the tools needed to say no. Commit your priorities to memory, and if you get a request that puts your priorities out of order, then no will be very easy. You wouldn’t attend a dinner party on a night when your two year old was sick. That no is easy, but if you don’t know your priorities, then how would you possibly gauge something less clear. What if that party was on a church night? Knowing your priorities and committing to them would be very helpful. Agreed?
Schedule the everyday–If you are organized and scheduled in your daily life, then it is much easier to see when to say no. This really ties in with priorities above, but it is still important. Most important here is to schedule your own wants and needs, and not just the to do list. This will help you be sure to continue to look after your own well being and not just everyone’s around you. If you have a date with yourself to soak in that bath with a nice wine tonight, then you might think twice before saying yes when you mean no.
The bottom line is that you have to arm yourself with the tools necessary to deliver confident and composed nos, when it is appropriate to your well being. The more you do to organize your needs, the more likely you will do so consistently.