The Power of ‘No’

If I ever complain about being busy again…someone please remind me of the last week and the week coming up.  Between the day job, the election campaign, dealing with emergency situations (like my bake element on my stove breaking or my car being in a hit and run accident), seeing my family for a few minutes each day and sleep…I  have had no extra time at all.  Which turns out to be a great thing. Pardon?!?

Yes it is a great thing, because at this stage your decision making process is so quick it is almost as fast as lightning.  I look at a request and if it doesn’t fall into my major priorities at this time the answer is simple: No.  Can I work on this project? No.  Can you write me an article? No, not right now.  Can you…insert request of choice…? No.

The great thing about this situation is I feel utterly no guilt at all in saying it, because I’m being completely truthful. I don’t have the time to do anything beyond my major priorities right now.  Yet what is interesting about this is how often we can hesitate to say no when we are less busy.  What is the difference between the two states? Beyond a little extra time…not a lot.

I suppose it is the desire to help others which really drives us to say ‘yes’ a lot, which is  important, but there has to be a limit on what you can really do.  I can’t manufacture more hours in the day beyond 24 and I only get the spend each day once.  So be sure you really want to do something when you say ‘yes’ and don’t forget to look after yourself and your family.  It because all to easy to leave the idea of helping others when you can into laying down parts of your life in sacrifice to others (which is never a good idea, because they aren’t gods so why are you sacrificing anything to them?).

I suppose what is colouring my perception right now is how utter invaluable my wife has been in the last few weeks, without her my election campaign won’t exist.  It’s not that she does a lot of direct help on the campaign, but rather she has taken up all the slack around the house keeping it clean, making meals and helping the boys with their homework.  Giving me more time to answer voter emails, deliver flyers  and talk with voters.

So don’t forget, saying no isn’t always a bad thing.  Just remember why you are saying yes or no.  So what was the last thing you said no to?

4 thoughts on “The Power of ‘No’”

  1. I’ve had to say no to my family lately. I do kind of feel guilty about it, but I feel it is for the greater good.
    Since my dad passed away, I’ve been my mothers main support, driving her to appointments, fixing her plumbing, helping finalize the paperwork to do with my fathers death, etc. My siblings come to help on weekends, and have been doing some projects that my dad didn’t finish, and when they ask if I am coming to help, I sometimes say no. I have my own stuff to look after, and accept I can’t do everything. By using the time they are there to look out for mum, I can be in a better position to help her when the rest of the family aren’t there.

  2. Saying no to other people is easy – saying “no” to yourself can be a little harder. ie. don’t take on that project, don’t have that new hobby, don’t bite off more than you can chew…

  3. I’m one that usually tries not to say no at all costs, and it ends up making me over commit myself. There is a lot to be said for being able to prioritize that quickly and be confident when you can’t do something. You can’t do everything, but you can do any thing.

  4. Saying no to people is straightforward – spoken communication “no” to yourself is to a small degree more durable. ie. don’t attack that project, don’t have that new hobby, don’t seize with teeth over you’ll be able to chew…

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