The Power of Saying NO

How many times do you say “yes” to a request of you and then walk away asking why you did that!

With the price of gas skyrocketing, the economy still in the tank, life moving faster and faster it seems we continue to let things take up our time that may not be of great value or benefit. We need to be more conscious every day of the activities we choose to spend your time. To avoid drifting away from your focus, ask yourself at intervals, “Is what I am doing right now helping me to achieve my goals?” This takes practice. It also means saying “NO” more often. Here are three areas to explore:

1. The biggest battle going on every day is between our own ears. We talk ourselves in and out of situations constantly. When that little negative voice in the back of your head demands attention and tries to get to the forefront of your thinking, take a time-out. Give yourself a quick mental pep talk. Focus on the benefits and rewards of sticking to your priorities, and remind yourself of the negative consequences if you do not.

2. A variety of other people can destroy your focus. Sometimes they wander into your office for a chat because you have an open-door policy. I am not saying to change your policy. I am suggesting a technique to help you when you really need to concentrate on a project, report etc. Develop a “sign” that indicates you need to be left alone so you can focus on the project at hand. You need to communicate this “sign” to others and you must play fairly. This doesn’t mean that you can put up the “sign” and then take a nap. When you are finished with the time needed to complete the task, remove the “sign”. The “sign” could be a ribbon on your door knob, or an actual sign that reads, Do Not Disturb.  

Also, develop a habit to tackle your most important priorities first rather than checking off tasks regardless of importance. It does not help when at the end of the day; the BIG project is still staring at you.

3. Isn’t is amazing how we allow the intrusion of the telephone, cell phone, or blackberry to control our day? If you are working on one of your BIG projects or just need to have your full attention on something, let the call go to voice mail (if permitted at your place of business). You can listen to the calls when you are finished.

Also, get into a habit of returning phone calls at specific times during the day. For example, calls received in the morning are returned between 11am and 11:30am. and calls received from 11:30am are returned between 1pm and 2pm. You will find they become less of an intrusion. You will also find that you give more attention to the caller because you are focused on them and not other things. This approach gives you control over these tools, not the other way around.

From now on those wasteful activities are off limits. Try practicing these techniques and you will be more efficient and effective with your time. And you can enjoy the power of NO.

If you have any tips or techniques to share with us on the power of no, please let me know so they can be shared with others.

Author: Nyda Bittmann-Neville is an image and branding doctor and helps clients to have a healthy performance in the areas of marketing, communication, and culture; all to enhance brand. Visit her websites for more information at, and www.TheMagnolia.TV. Email her at [email protected].