Can’t Keep Up? How To Get More Done By Saying No
- Steve Spring
It starts out with a missed family dinner because you have to complete an important project for one of your customers.
You think, “It’s no big deal – I will make it up to them when the project is finished.” You make a quick phone call to explain, and get on with your project.
The next week you have to call Danny to explain to him why you can’t play golf on Saturday. He will understand because he’s also a small business owner, he get’s it, the customer has to come first.
Soon this becomes a pattern and you do the same thing week after week. You give up the things that are most important to you for the sake of your business. Soon you don’t have time for your family, friends, and hobbies.
Is this what your life feels like?
There has to be a better way…
Is Your Business Sucking The Life Out Of You?
We all understand that growing a business takes time. In most cases, it takes a lot of time. If you let it, it will take all of your time. It will take time from your family, friends, and – in some cases – destroy your health and your relationships.
We tend to think that if we can’t get it all done, our business will fail. And if we fail this time, we might not get another chance.
This fear of failure leads us to take on more projects than we can accomplish in a reasonable amount of time.
It causes us to sacrifice sleep, exercise, and time with the people that we love. We end up over-committed, overworked, and overwhelmed.
Are You Over-Committed?
As small business owners, we constantly overestimate what we can accomplish in a day. We set big goals for our business and work hard to achieve them. As entrepreneurs, we have a hard time saying no to any interesting and potentially profitable opportunity.
We also live in a culture where it is expected that we will answer nearly every question with a “Yes.” All of the marketing messages that we see are focused on getting us to say “Yes.” We even ask most of our questions in a way that is designed to get us to say yes: “Would you like to have coffee?” “Can you complete this project by Monday?” “Do you have time to meet next week?”
Because of our cultural background it can be very difficult to say anything but yes – often leaving us over-committed, overworked, and overwhelmed as a result.
But, we have to realize that we only have 168 hours in a week. We have to stop lying to ourselves and admit that we can’t do it all. We must become more disciplined and productive.
Learn How To Say No!
[clickToTweet tweet=”At some point, we all need to realize that we can’t say yes to every opportunity.” quote=”At some point, we all need to realize that we can’t say yes to every opportunity.”] Attempting to do so can put the things that matter most to us at risk. We can’t do it all, and saying yes to one opportunity will often mean that you must say no to something else.
Therefore, we need to choose our opportunities wisely. We need to say yes only to the opportunities that will make the largest positive impact on our business. The way to do this is by learning to say no to the opportunities that we don’t have time for, or those that will not make a significant impact on our business.
We need to evaluate all of our opportunities in terms of the overall return to our business, and focus our time on the opportunities that produce the greatest return.
So, How do You Say No?
The following three responses will help you eliminate some of the opportunities that causing you to be over committed, overworked, and overwhelmed without offending anyone.
- “I’m sorry, but this opportunity is not a good fit for my business.” This response is a polite way of communicating that this opportunity just isn’t right for you or your business. It most cases, people will accept this response and move on.
- “Let me think about this and I will get back to you.” This response gives you the opportunity to check your calendar, and the option to carefully evaluate the business value of the opportunity. It allows you to respond after you have carefully considered all of your options, and not in the moment when you might feel pressured to make a decision.
- “I can’t do this, but I can …” This is a response that you can use if you are truly interested in the opportunity, and just don’t have the time right now. You should let them know when you can get to this, or what part of the opportunity you can commit to now.
I Said No, Now What?
[clickToTweet tweet=”Saying no will help you restore a sense of balance, and help you add some margin to your busy life.” quote=”Saying no will help you restore a sense of balance, and help you add some margin to your busy life.”] If you are not familiar with the concept of margin, you can think of is like the white space around the page in a book. The margin, or white space, makes the page easier to read.
When you apply this concept to your life, you will find that creating space in life gives you a change to breath. Creating margin by saying no is a conscious decision that allows us to live below our limits.
How Can I Use The Margin That I Created By Saying “No?”
- Saying “No” Provides You More Time For What Matters Most – Only you can determine what matters most to you. It might be your family. It might be your friends. It might even a hobby. Saying no creates the margin that you need to invest time in the things that matter most to you.
- Saying “No” Allows You To Prioritize Your Work – Saying no to some opportunities, even if they are very good opportunities, creates the margin that you need to focus on your best opportunities.
- Saying “No” Reduces Your Stress – Saying “yes” often leads to us becoming over-committed, overworked, and overwhelmed. This can be a major cause of stress. Saying no allows us to add some margin to our life, reducing the chance that chronic stress will damage our health.
- Saying No Frees Up Time For Other Opportunities – Have you ever had to say no to a great opportunity because you were already over -committed? Most of us have. Saying “no” creates the margin that we need to take advantage of these opportunities.
Are You Ready for an Easier Way?
Dealing with people can sometimes be difficult, but remember you only have 168 hours in a week, and you control how you will invest them. You have the power to choose the opportunities that provide the most return for the time that you invest in them.
A few years ago, Danny conducted a survey. In this survey he found that 71% of people who were satisfied with their business success said “no” always or often. Of the people who were not satisfied with their success, 69% did not say “no” often or always. [clickToTweet tweet=”So, learn to say no wisely because it has a direct impact on your success!” quote=”So, learn to say no wisely because it has a direct impact on your success!”]
Do you struggle with saying no? Drop me a comment and let me know the one way in which you’re going to start saying no to create the margin you need to focus on the things that matter most to you.