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Time Management Tip: Ways to Say No

In my years as a time management professional, few topics have come up as often as the act of saying no. Yet, even with the acknowledgement of its value, it can still be challenging to say "no" when we are confronted with a demand for our time. 

Recently, a list of "21 Ways to Give a Good No" by Christine Carter was shared with me. Knowing this is a topic that many of us struggle with; I've included my 5 favorites from that list for easy integration into your days. 

  • Ask me later:“I want to do that, but I’m not available until April. Will you ask me again then?”
  • I Know Someone Else:“I just don’t have time right now. Let me recommend someone who may be able to help you.”
  • I’m “maxed out”:“We need a ‘safety word’ for saying no—an easy way to tell people that we can’t/won’t do the thing they are requesting, but that it’s not personal. 
  • Gracious:“I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed.”
  • Just No:“Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that.” (Say it, then shut up.)

Remember since our time is finite, saying yes to something is actually saying no to something else. Perhaps these options will help you comfortably say "no" to certain demands, leaving time to say "yes" others.