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When To Say “No”


The idea might sound strange but being able to say ‘no’ is fundamental to any scheme of 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 colleague or friend comes your way and asks you to help them out.

The person smiles very sweetly at you 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 while you are sweating over somebody else’s work. It’s because of the simple reason that you could not say no to the person.

How many times have you had a similar experience?

I’m not saying that you should not be civil. If you find a colleague in distress and have the time to spare, by all means help the person. Who knows, tomorrow you might be in that persons position and you may need somebody’s help. That does not mean that you should let yourself be taken for a ride. 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.

Unless you want to take up from where Mother Theresa left off, you had better put your foot down and say “sorry, but I just don’t have the time.” Behave like a diplomat. I remember reading somewhere that a diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a nice manner that you will actually start looking forward to the trip.

So that is just what you have to do. Done the mask of the diplomat and the next time someone approaches you with sugar coated requests to help them out, smile back at them. Give them a nice sweet smile and just say NO!

Face the facts, in today’s world of cut throat competition your very existence may depend on your ability to say “no.”

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