Thursday, October 3, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Just Say No

We all have an unprecedented number of demands on our time these days.  The more things get easier because of technology, the more things we pile on, and yes, the less time we have for all of it.

Couple that overburdened schedule with a hesitancy (and that's likely understating it) to say no, and wow, we have no time to ourselves.  So how can we fix that?

I found three suggestions that I think might help.

1.  Say yes to yourself and your loved ones.

If we consider that saying 'no' to ourselves also means saying no to those we love, then it might be a little easier to turn down someone's request for our time.   We can even incorporate this philosophy into our answer:  "I'd love to help you out with that, but that's the evening that we do family movie night, and I wouldn't dream of disappointing the kids." This now becomes a decision of which you can feel proud - I choose my family.  Not to mention, it's going to be a little tricky for someone to try to talk you into it now that they know it will mean failing your children.

2. Remember your priorities.

We can only complete so many things in a day, so we have to choose what those things are going to be.  We need to say this, this, and this are what's important to me and everything else has to be second (or lower).  Sometimes when we're faced with a request for our time, however, we get flustered and forget about what's essential. This nifty little diagram from Youth Leaders Academy is the perfect little tool for sorting things out.  (I am seriously in love with this chart). 

3.  Don't answer, yet.

This is my favourite tip.  Rachel from the Youth Leaders Academy site suggests, "Don't say yes, don't say no, say: 'I'll get back to you.'"

Don't you just love that? All of the discomfort of being put on the spot vanishes.  You can work through the chart above and decide if this is something you want to do, you have extra time to think of a polite response, and if the person who is asking you for the favour is anything like me, they might even forget that you were going to get back to them.  Win!

I have to admit that this is one that I have gotten better about now that I'm older.  I don't care as much about pleasing people and I feel like my time is so precious that I don't want to waste it doing things I really don't want to do.  Even still, I'm going to have Rachel's technique at the ready in case I feel boxed in by a request.

What's your favourite response to an invitation or task request that you don't want to do?


Kei said...

Oh man, I really feel bad about saying no to people, even if it's something I don't want to do! lol

The last point is something I struggle with; saying 'I'll get back to you' about something only serves to stress me out more because I have the matter of saying no hanging over my head. lol

When I don't want to do something I've been invited to do or asked to do, if it's a friend I can tell them that I don't feel up to it and most of them will understand I'm either feeling low or my social power is completely drained! Otherwise I tend to say 'I've got plans that day' (it's true, even if my plan is to stay at home drinking tea!)

Magic Love Crow said...

Let me think about it! LOL! Sometimes, I do say yes too much too, but I am getting better. Sometimes, I say yes, because I feel guilty! Uggg! Like when the neighbor asks to use your lawn mower, because they are too lazy to get their own!!! I make sure to run out now, when they don't see me! LOL! I like that quote, yes to others make sure you are not saying no to yourself! Hugs ;o)

Mindy said...

Saying no is by far one of my worst traits. Meaning, it's nearly impossible. Just this week, I think I got bullied into watching someone's kids once a week. It was sneaky and I don't even know how it happened. But all of a sudden I was nodding and agreeing. I HATE that about myself. I feel like if I don't come up with an immediate excuse, I can't weasel my way out. But why can't I just say, no, that won't work for me?! Again, I hate that about myself.

Tina Bradley said...

I adore these three guiding points! That last one has taken me so very long to learn. Only in the last year or so, have I truly given myself space between instances and my responses to them (mindfulness in action). I've come to adore the word "No. " Feels like a luxury that doesn't cost me a dime. :) xo T.

Etcetorize said...

Love the chart. I actually don't have all that much trouble saying no. I think I've gotten a lot of practice with telemarketers and door to door people. My personal time is precious to me so I want to spend it wisely, not doing things out of misguided allegiance. That can just cause resentment anyway~