While building your career, you will be faced with many opportunities and choices. It’s not uncommon to have too many tasks and too little time. This is why it’s important to learn how to say no. The simple word ’NO,’ could potentially help you advance in your career.
As humans, many struggle to say no. This is because we’re eager to advance in our jobs. We take on more work than we can handle sometimes, working longer hours in order to be recognized. Although noticeable effort is crucial, taking on too many tasks can actually hinder your progress. Do not wear yourself out, as you need to stay focused and driven.
Saying No can Boost Your Career
You would think that saying no would have the opposite effect, potentially hindering your career. When someone of authority asks something of you, you’re supposed to say yes, correct? Well, not always. When you say no, you could potentially help yourself in three ways:
- Saying no forces you to focus on the tasks you are currently working on. When you say no, you need to first look at which tasks are in your current ’yes’ category. This will teach you how to properly prioritize. When you look at the tasks in which you already have, you can focus on what’s critical in terms of your success. When you set priorities, you know which tasks should and should not be included. Basically, saying no can help you learn how to prioritize, which is such a vital skill.
- You maintain a sense of control. Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t just say no because you don’t feel like doing something; this is not taking control. If you know a requested task is not probable, than speak up. When you feel in control, you are able to focus more effectively. Once you lose control, you can feel overwhelmed, making the simplest tasks challenging.
- This can send a message to those around you. If you say no, you show them that you value your time and know how to properly prioritize. This can ensure that people do not walk all over you.
As long as you’re saying no for the right reasons, you can most certainly increase your success. Focus on the tasks that will elevate your career, while avoiding those that won’t.
How to Say No
Whether it’s your boss, a co-worker, or a friend, it’s hard to say no. It’s natural to want to please others, but you also need to look at your career. What will benefit you? What will help you reach your goals?
If you have time, then there’s no reason not to accept once in a while, helping those in need. However, you need to learn when, ‘no,’ is the best and more productive answer. Depending on the situation, you can express ‘no’ in any of the following ways:
- Delegate: Although you cannot complete a task, that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a suggestion. Recommended someone else that would perform well, as you know they’ll do a great job. This is best if you have some authority. That way, you can delegate a task to someone who you know has the time.
- Deflect: Offer to connect the individual with someone who can help them with their request. You may not have time, but someone in your network may. If you don’t think you’re a good match, send them towards someone that is. You provided this individual a service, by pointing them in the right direction. Realistically, you helped them, without having to tack on another assignment to your to-do list.
- Decline: Simply say no; sometimes there’s nothing else to say. You need to feel out the situation. Perhaps a reason isn’t necessary.
- Discuss: You may say no, but that doesn’t mean you won’t help them. You can say no to that specific task, but be open to something else. “No, I can’t do this, but I can do this instead...” You can propose alternatives, offering suggestions, opening up a discussion.
When saying yes, ensure that additional assignments will help you build a productive and positive future. You should also consider who you’re saying no to. If your boss is asking you to complete a task, this should take higher priority. If a co-worker is trying to dump their assignments on you, you shouldn’t feel as though you need to pick up the slack.
You need to stay focused on your career and the goals in which you’ve created. If you say yes to everyone, you will never truly be able to focus on the critical tasks you have. Make sure you learn when saying no is appropriate.
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