There are a lot of lessons I still haven’t learned.
I still go to bed with wet hair. I surf when I’m sick. And I tend to skip meals and head directly to dessert.
But the one lesson I have yet to master — OK, even attempt to try — is the one many of us struggle with everyday.
I can’t say no.
It’s really not in my vocabulary.
I mean, I can say no to peas and ruffled tops. But I can’t say no to things that take up a lot of my time.
I volunteer a lot, plan get-togethers, bake for parties, drive people around, edit papers, even instruct friends on the glorious power of Google calendars.
And I can’t seem to stop.
It wouldn’t be so bad if these things didn’t take me away from my larger personal and professional goals. But I think they are.
My mom reminded me last night how many hours a week I devote to one particular volunteer organization — and it shocked me. It’s like a part-time job — only without pay.
I don’t think saying yes is necessarily a bad thing. I appreciate people who try to help out, people you can always rely on, who will suck it up to do something for others. But there has to be a limit. I just don’t know what that limit is.
According to the Mayo Clinic, saying no can directly impact your stress levels. When you think about all the time you can take back and use toward other things — working toward your professional goals, hanging out with friends, cooking dinner for once — you could regain control of your life and your health.
Here are some reasons for saying no, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Saying no isn’t necessarily selfish. When you say no to a new commitment, you’re honoring your existing obligations and ensuring that you’ll be able to devote quality time to them.
- Saying no can allow you to try new things. Just because you’ve always helped plan the company softball tournament doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing it forever. Saying no will give you time to pursue other interests.
- Always saying yes isn’t healthy. When you’re overcommitted and under too much stress, you’re more likely to feel run-down and possibly get sick.
- Saying yes can cut others out. On the other hand, when you say no you open the door for others to step up. They may not do things exactly the way you would, but that’s OK. They’ll find their own way.
I have to admit, these are pretty convincing reasons.
Anyone have the same problem? (It’s OK to say yes.)
Cat, I didn’t know you had a problem saying, “NO.”
With that in mind, can you give me $ 4,000 ???
( just kidding )
Yes. Saying no makes everyone happier, did not realize that until about a year ago. Recently I killed off LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. They generated a false sense of connectedness. They also took a lot of time to think through. Between e-mail and the phone I can stay in touch just fine. One thing is for sure, saying no is a tough skill to learn. And yes at times you are being very selfish with your time… but it is YOUR TIME.
No wonder you get sick so often. You have to take care of yourself first, you are number one and you can’t help others if you are sick all the time. Say no for your health.
CAT: No wonder Derek asked if you would marry him! LOL
I had that problem and it can grow into resentment when people you do things for are not there for you. Or you volunteer, and it’s just you and the same four people, all the time. Saying no is empowering, especially if you’re sacrificing your health, your family or your sanity!
Hey Cat … I’m the exact opposite … I can’t say yes … ok maybe not that extreme … but I’m ultra careful before I say yes …
… and it’s bad in many ways … especially because I don’t get to trying a lot of new things … and I don’t get to meet many new people …
… I’m just cautious that I don’t take on more than I can handle … and I don’t want to mess up the things I’m already doing … I’m not saying that I have a full plate of things to do … because I really don’t … far from it!!! …
… I just like the fact that i can get up and do just about anything I want … and at anytime … because I don’t have too many other commitments …
… yeah, a bit selfish … but helps me keep my sanity …
New word…..MAYBE 🙂
I’ve been struggling with this my whole life. Only recently have I learned to say no (with the help of my partner). And you know, I haven’t been sick in a really long time.
We need to make choices (“decisions” has a note of finality to it, and “choices” leaves room for recnsideration and growth), and be confident in those choices.
Every “yes” is really “no” to other things, and it is essential to recognize what we’re choosing to do and to make sure that it is aligned with our goals in life.
Cat, if you have some inkling to say “no” but have difficulty saying it, try saying “not now.” It works, and merely indicates that this thing isn’t at the top of your list.
An old rule of getting things done, especially at work is: “say yes, unless you have a good reason to say no.” That works very well, and it’s amazing how much time you spend doing things versus thingking about whether to do things.