Psychology Tuesday: Learn to Say "No"

Psychology Tuesday: Learn to Say "No"

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Tuesdays are Psychology and body language days at

Sometimes, even though we can be organised (or we like to think we are!) we can sometimes take too much on. This leads to a form of procrastination I like to term “Rabbit in the headlights”; you know the one – where you get paralysed with fear at the piles of stuff that’s mounting up around you even if you are delegating, actioning, filing and generally getting things done.

There’s an enormous amount of pressure on us during our every day lives to be a “yes man”, turning something down at work is seen as a weakness and could mean you miss that next promotion – or at least we think that’s what’s going to happen. I think this is why the likes of  “Getting Things Done* and “Four Hour Work Week“* are becoming increasingly popular; we’re all struggling under the weight of these extra task and we’re not coping. Not because we’re disorganised or procrastinating or lazy, we’re trying to do too much.

We need to learn to say “No” and understand that the consequences won’t be as drastic as we think they will be. Surely saying “I’m sorry Bob, I can’t do that report for you at the moment as I’ve got the accounts to finish. Is next week okay?” is better than spending all weekend in the office doing it, missing your kid’s first football (or “soccer” for my American chums) game?

As long as you qualify why you can’t do something then you won’t upset anyone. Just saying “No! Can’t! Won’t!” will make you look like a petulant teenager and you definitely won’t get that promotion. Just ensure that you’re polite, offer to do it at a later date or suggest someone else who may be able to help and you’ll still look like a competent person who’s just too busy rather than one who just doesn’t care.

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