Why You Should Learn to Say No More Often

When it comes to being able to deliver projects on time and keep to pre-planned schedules, few skills are as important as time management. Regardless of whether you’re the CEO, a freelancer or an entry-level employee, being able to manage your time well can often be the difference between successful projects and unhappy clients.

One crucial aspect to effective time management is an ability to say ‘no’, whether that’s to family members, colleagues, clients or even your superiors. People who struggle with their time management are often those who say ‘yes’ too often, usually because they don’t want to turn down work or they’re eager to appear helpful and useful.

But saying ‘yes’ to anything requires a commitment – a responsibility to do what you said you would. This involves your time, focus and resources, and if you’re working to a tight schedule this can be difficult to deliver. If you want to be able to manage your time and projects more effectively, then you need to become comfortable with saying ‘no’, or at least saying ‘not at the moment’.

To get better at saying no, try pausing before you answer when someone makes a request. Whatever they’re asking you to do, take the time to consider how it will impact on your current schedule and responsibilities. If you feel you don’t have the time to fully commit, or you feel you won’t be able to do a good job, then communicate this to the person asking. Only say yes if you can truly commit your time and resources to the new task without affecting your current projects – not only will this make it easier to manage your time well, but it will show those asking things of you that you’re not the sort of person to agree if you can’t do the job to the best of your abilities. You’re showing that you respect them and your current projects enough to only agree when you can do the job well, and this will reflect well on you in the long run.

If time management is a problem for you, consider checking out this wonderful infographic from STL, showing you the most common time management mistakes and how you can avoid them in your own work.