Get More Done With One Simple Word
Constantly on a hamster wheel feeling like you will never conquer your day? In today’s society, we have tossed the word “productivity” around like a tennis ball for your dog. We are far over-booked, overwhelmed, and over it all counting down the days for our next vacation.
Despite our best intentions, we are saying yes to everything and leaving very little to no time for ourselves. One simple word will set you free. Repeat after me:
What do we constantly find ourselves saying yes to?
- Can you help me with (fill in the blank)?
- Let’s grab a drink after work next week!
- I haven’t heard from them. Should I email/call/text?
Why we say yes.
When was the last time your boss asked if you could push a deadline and you said “yes,” even when you knew you’d have to pull an all nighter? We want to be helpful, likable, and known as reliable, and we want to be the go-to gal when they are considering promotions.
Another example: In life, there are times we contemplate how many follow-ups we should send until we hear back. Whether it’s a business deal you’re dying to close or a date you felt a spark, never chase anyone. Whether it's timing, lack of confidence to send that dreaded bad news email/ call/text, they are avoiding it for a reason, so let it go. Don’t let this dig affect your self-esteem - as your mom always said, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and you best believe it. Better deals and better work partnerships are around the corner.
We are notorious problem-solvers and wired to crack the code. We are caretakers at heart, want to be seen as nice, and feel a sense of obligation. Although, ultimately, we are afraid to say no. We are afraid of conflict, confrontation, and rejection, and believe everyone else’s approval matters more than what we think of ourselves.
How to say no.
“No” is the most liberating word in your dictionary, yet also feels like a foreign language. Having trouble spitting it out? Below are ways to effectively say no:
- Say it confidently: Beating around the bush, weak excuses, or “I’ll keep you posted” will only leave the door open for future requests. Rip the band-aid off quickly and eloquently.
- Less is more: Don’t feel obligated to share a compelling story. Only share more if you feel that you need to. Remember, it’s your life, not theirs.
- Set boundaries: Boundaries are way healthier than that fad diet you tried three months ago that didn’t stick. Healthy boundaries are choices you make and the opportunity to speak your truth. When you are not honest, your relationships will shift.
- Decide quickly: You know what your gut is telling you, so roll with it. The more you ping-pong your justification, you more you are talking your way out of saying no.
As the brilliant Warren Buffet said:
The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say 'no' to almost everything.
We need to be more mindful of what we take on while also taking care of ourselves. That is when we are most productive. Once you get in the habit of saying no, you are actually getting in the habit of saying yes. Yes to new opportunities, yes to new relationships, and most importantly, yes to yourself!
Amanda Cotler is the Director of Operations for Accel Lifestyle, a global activewear brand completely disrupting the textile industry with their propriety, anti-bacterial fabric. She ensures their supply chain meets the company’s rigorous ethical and sustainable standards. One of her many talents includes turning activewear into evening wear in a matter of minutes. When she is not leading the company’s operations, she can be found working up a sweat at the gym, taking the stage at an improv class, or collaborating with the leadership team of Ellevate Network.