"No Way" Valentine's candy heart.In a previous Keeping Chaos at Bay email, I mentioned that one of the signs you might want to have is one that reminds you to say, “No” more often. A number of people wrote and asked if I’d create some “signs” they could download just for that purpose. So I’ve done that. You can certainly make your own signs for this purpose or you can download the ones that I’ve already created for you (just click on the Downloads link at Keys to Keeping Chaos at Bay). There is no charge and you’re welcome to print them and share them with others.

Now, on to this week’s ideas about Keeping Chaos at Bay by saying “no” instead of “yes”…some of the time.

  1. Sometimes, you just need to say, “No” and not add any additional explanation.

  2. Sometimes, “No, but thanks for asking me” is the best answer.

  3. Sometimes, “No, there’s no way I can fit anything else into my schedule right now” is the correct way to respond (and it’s the right one to use when it’s the truth!)

  4. One of my personal favorites is, “No, I simply can’t say yes.” People sort of shake their heads when they hear this one. This gives you time to move on.

  5. There are times that the best answer is, “No, given my other responsibilities right now, I can’t take on anything else. However, I do appreciate your asking me.”

  6. When someone is asking you to do something, and you are going to have to say yes, but it means that something else is not going to get done, you can respond, “OK. I can do that and please help me figure out which of these other tasks is of a lower priority.”

  7. When you are able to say “Yes” to part of the task, then do so. You might respond,”I can’t say yes to all of what you’re asking me, but I can say yes to ________” (specify what will work for you).

  8. Let people know what saying “Yes” will interfere with…and it has to be something that they will understand. For example, “I have to say no because if I agree to chair this committee, which meets on Tuesday nights, I will miss all of my son’s soccer games.” Another example is, “The reason I can’t say yes is because right now, I’m working toward tenure and I’m in year 6. My writing must take precedence. I’m sure you understand.”

  9. There are times that the answer is “no” right this minute, but it might be yes at another time. Tell people that (when it’s the truth).

  10. Taking care of yourself is not a bad reason to say “no” to particular requests for you time, energy, talent, and money. There’s no need to apologize. You can say, “Right now, I am focusing on my health (finances, learning, or whatever is true), so I will have to say no.”

Al McGuire said: “Despite what your friends might think, ‘no’ is a good answer. Everyone thinks ‘no is a bad answer. ‘Maybe’ is the bad answer. ‘Yes’ is the best answer, the one we all want. But ‘no’ at least ends the conversation.”

Don’t equivocate if ‘no’ is the answer you need to give.  Remember, go to the main site and download the signs if you think they will help remind you of ways to say “No.”

ATP: Available to Promise

And to help you manage your time and commitments, you will want to access the teleseminar, ATP: Available to Promise How much time & energy (truthfully) do you have ‘available to promise’?, available for immediate download.