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The Power of Saying, “No”


Have you ever felt like a rubber band about to snap?  From time to time, we all have this feeling.  It stems from never wanting to offend someone and to be there for everyone because “they need you.” You might have too much on your plate to take on another task or family obligation and feel challenged trying to juggle it all.  The power of saying, “no” ties directly into time management — a necessary tool in the event industry when trying to keep many balls in the air at the same time. It’s about finding the right balance both at work and your personal life.

Tools I’ve used over the years to never let my rubber band stretch too far are simple:
1.  My calendar
2.  Lists which are continuously prioritized, both at work and at home

Reclaim Your To-Do List

Let’s talk about calendars.  If you’re a meeting planner with a goal of completing X number of tasks a day, you have to carve out time on your calendar to make that happen. The same goes for everything on your lists, which should continuously be re-prioritized.  Once you have your calendar and your priorities in order, it allows you to better understand big picture of what’s on your plate and whether or not you have the time for anything additional.  Note your deadlines and set reminders.  Allot time on your calendar to manage those projects.  Something might be marked “urgent” but what is the definition of urgent to the sender?

Prioritizing your lists at work is like prioritizing your bank account when paying bills.  As a leader of our team, I always ask myself:  “Does this task make us money?”  Yes, goes to the top of the list, no goes to the bottom of the list.  Second, “Will this help us win more business?” Yes, goes to the top of the list; no – bottom of the list.  And, “Does this help our team?” Yes – top of the list; no – bottom of the list.  When it comes to personal lists, your questions will obviously be different based on the specifics of your life.

People pleasing is our business but being a good communicator  is equally important.  There’s nothing worse than being left hanging.  How many times have you waited for an answer or an update from someone on how things are progressing?  Sound familiar? It’s always better to keep the communication flow open so there are no questions on the current status.  This act helps us prioritize and set the right expectation with timely communication, so when we need to say “no” or place something on hold, the receiver is not caught off guard.

The power of saying “no” is difficult but can become easier with time, when put into practice.    You’ve mastered the power of saying, “no,” when you’ve offered an effective alternative.  What do I mean by that? You said no but provided an alternative solution, deadline, time frame, option, etc.  When you’ve mastered the power of saying, “no” effectively, you’ve inevitably said yes to the receiver of your message who never heard you say, “no.”