Say “No” to make “Yes” sound better

Kris Rowlands — №2 with Guy Kawasaki

Do you put your needs to one side because you get a buzz from someone else’s happiness, only to find that he or she is not a bit grateful? If so, you are a classic “people pleaser,” and you are, in all probability, not getting what you want out of life. It’s time to shift the focus from others to yourself, and stop being a martyr.

I’m quite sure that there is more than one person reading this that can answer “yes” to that question. But I have a question back at you:

How do you ever Get Things Done?

Saying “yes” is an affliction that the even the best of us have. A good deal of the time, it’s a great deal easier to say “yes” when we are asked for something rather than to say “no”. But how can you be personally productive if you are always doing for others? The simple answer is that you can’t.

In order to keep your own life on track, you must have time to be able to complete the tasks and goals that you have set out for yourself. Not only for the obvious reason of being organized, but for the unobvious reason: you cannot feel productive and organized if you aren’t doing so.

Setting our own goals and being organized enough to accomplish them is a very important part to the humans’ psyche. The psyche is geared to feeling good about itself when you are able to accomplish tasks for yourself. Now you might be thinking “How the heck am I going to get anything done for myself? I have so many things to do for other people…..”. There is a way….and it may take you some time to learn it, but learn it you must. You have to say


Saying no is a key component of being able to be organized and Get Things Done. You have to be able to use this word in order to fulfill your own agenda and also in order to be able to feel good about yourself. When you say “no” to people, and you have the time, list for them a few reasons why you are saying “no”. Such as, “I would love to be able to take care of that for you, but due to tasks A, B, and C, I would not be able to do this for you in a timely and efficient manner. My other commitments have my plate full at the moment. Might I suggest that you speak with X in order to complete your task?”

People don’t like to hear the word “no”, but when coupled with the explanation of why you are saying “no”, you can inform them that you would not be able to invest the time it would take to see the task to fruition and be able to do it with quality.

But when you do say “yes” to a task or project, people will realize that they will get your best quality work that you can offer, and that it is indeed an exception point that you have said “yes” to their request. When you learn to say “no”, people will begin to value what you do for them and value when you say “yes”.

Photo: Flickr / bcostin CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Kris rowlands

Kris Rowlands

Kris Rowlands, being the child of a hoarder, has grown up her entire life organizing things around her: it is as natural to her as breathing. With over twenty-five years experience, she is honored to offer you her services, in this time of need for busy professionals and entrepreneurs. She’s running a productivity blog “Fresh Focus”.

Visit Kris's blog Fresh Focus