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Office workers, working in real offices or doing Work From Home, face requests from fellow workers all the time which can range from unnecessary to downright avoidable. In our quest to appease others, we are struggling to reach our fullest potential.
Time, as many of us have now realized, is the most valuable and prized asset we have, and saying no to certain activities at work can enable us to do something worthy.
Agreeing on every activity is easy and can also become our default reaction. It fills our calendars with so many tasks and we are playing a losing game thereafter, making more commitments than we can keep, and leading to unfulfilled obligations. When we are overcommitting, it is leading to us getting burned out and hurting our network in the process.
When we are asked for something, we end up reacting, rashly and impulsive, as it subtly awakens our fight-or-flight mode.
Social media has made unwanted requests and their ignoring easier, training us to quietly ignore anything we don’t like, or cannot commit to, but with the security of the other person not getting any kind of rejection.
The best way to say no apparently is to say nothing at all, at least on the virtual front.
A straightforward NO can seem rude, and that’s probably why we avoid it. A better way is to provide a polite no, with an option or an alternative, to help them reach their goals.
Example: While emailed by a colleague to meet up for a project over a cup of coffee, one can say “Hey Thanks for reaching out! I like the idea but am not able to take out the time right now. I can email you the project notes I made, and you can ping me back with any questions you may have?”
Many of the workplace commitment requests require immediate action, and one may not have the bandwidth to give to others. A polite way is to say yes, but do not commit to the time, saying that you are definitely interested, but would like to do that some other time.
Most situations solve themselves when given enough time.
If you want to help out, but for some reason are unable to, you can become a mediator and help the person in need reach out to a different person, whom you think can be a good fit for providing the solution.
Introducing someone else clears you and can be a value-adding action.
Sometimes a clear No is actually a stronger option than a weak Yes. A well-focused rejection makes you a powerful person.
One can look for engagements and clean out one’s calendar, making sure that the time is only spent on valuable, productive activities that help towards your own business interests.
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