The Art of Saying “No”

No, Non, Nein, Nee, Niet…it’s a simple little word so why is it so hard to say sometimes?

As part of my 25 Before 25 list, I’m trying to learn the art of when to say ‘no’ to things and erase the consequential ‘guilt’ I feel afterwards when I do so. I mean in the sense of doing things that go a little bit above and beyond and it’s hard because I want to be as helpful as possible to everyone. Some might call it ‘people-pleasing’ and maybe there is an underlying sense of wanting to be liked and feeling like everyone can rely on you. Admittedly it does become a bit tiresome when people then expect the ‘super-girl’ routine from you and you then feel like you’re massively disappointing them when you don’t immediately jump to it. I suppose in a way I’ve created my own little cycle that I find hard to get out of.

 

Photo courtesy of Pinterest via Media Web Apps

Photo courtesy of Pinterest via Media Web Apps

I also feel like I have to reply to emails straight away and it makes me uneasy if I have a full inbox of unread messages but I am starting to realise that it’s okay to make people wait. My day-to-day job is busy, fast-paced and sometimes, everything that I have written on my daily To-Do list doesn’t get done, especially if I have to drop everything for something far more important. Again, I’m starting to wonder whether to-do lists are actually good for you at all or whether they are the root of a compulsive person’s problems. That little piece of paper with all of your tasks staring back at you, putting pressure on you to tick them off. Sure, you feel like you’ve truly accomplished something when you’re scrawled through them all but if I see one or two that I haven’t, I feel like I haven’t been productive, even if I’ve spent the day running around like a blue-arsed fly. Aaaaand the trouble is, your work is never done, that’s why it’s a job, because if you didn’t have anything to do, what are you being paid for?

Back to the art of saying no, before I make a pros and cons list of to-do lists…in the past couple of weeks I’ve declined offers of going out after work and have tried to be a bit more firm with things e.g. “I’m really busy at the moment, not right now but I’ll try to later.” Not out of principle but so that I can create a more balanced lifestyle; if I went out to every event/gig I’m invited to, I’d be burning the candle at both ends and surviving on Wetherspoons meals. Been that, done that. Yeah I’m only 24 and this is the time to be living la vida loca but I feel I can a bit more choosy and I’ve learned its okay to say that I’m tired or I’m trying to save money, without feeling like I’m missing out on something or being a bore! Let’s be honest, I’m not exactly a hermit anyway!

Sorry if I’ve rambled on but sometimes when I feel a bit overwhelmed or a bit stressed, it’s therapeutic to write things down to get them off my mind. Maybe I should write a semi-autobiographical tale like Danny Wallace and entitle it “No Woman.” Hmm…

Anyone else find it hard to say no? Send your tips and advice my way!

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2 thoughts on “The Art of Saying “No”

  1. I think saying no is a skill in itself but the true skill is balance; say no to the things that are least important and yes to the things that mean more.

    I read a book recently that said you should think of the 3 things that provide most value to a business and focus 80% of your time on those. We end up giving too much time to things that do not contribute the most return on investment.

    The email thing gets me too but I recently realised that every time you reply to an email they just send another back so you never actually get anywhere with them anyway- if it’s urgent they will call you.

  2. Pingback: Balance is the Key to Life | Essex and The City

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