How to Say No to Others

There’s a single word that rises above the rest when it comes to effectively managing your time. Can you guess what it is?


That’s not me doubting your abilities. In fact, I’m telling you the answer. “No” is a powerful word that’s commanding, freeing, and quite adept at creating and affirming boundaries. And if you want to maximize your productivity, “no” is a word to get well-acquainted with.

I’m not suggesting you say “no” to everybody. Just say it more often. Be strategic when navigating requests from managers and customers. Of course, you’ll want to say “yes” to their reasonable requests.

For other sorts of queries, I have some tips on protecting your time, keeping your relationships, and still saying “no.”

Try this: if someone has a request for you, ask them to email it to you instead. This will buy you a bit of time to compose your thoughts and look at your calendar. It may also cause them to back off or ask someone else. They also might forget about it altogether. And, if you do say “yes,” ask for a clear deadline.

It’s your time; you get to decide how to spend it. When you say no to one thing, you’re choosing to say yes to something else and yes to greater focus. Choose wisely.

Saying no to others from Time Management Fundamentals by Dave Crenshaw

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