When it comes to work efficiency, it’s important to be able to say “no” at work without making enemies.
It’s a simple word, but one that far too many of us have trouble saying. Perhaps it’s because you’ve become successful by saying yes to every business opportunity, every request that has come your way, in order to grow your business or develop your career. However, as you progress through your career, you become more successful and new opportunities will inevitably emerge. More people and more projects will vie for your time. For the sake of your work efficiency and productivity, you cannot do everything and this is when it may be necessary to start saying no to things.
Focusing And Work Efficiency Is About Saying No
More than ever, we’re all working harder with less resources, which means that we can often take on too much work. Sometimes saying “yes” to another project when you’re already at full capacity, effectively means that you’re saying no to completing the tasks that you already have to do. Steve Jobs famously said that “focusing is about saying no”. Focusing on what matters, and work efficiency, not just what’s in front of you, is the key to driving the success of your business.
What About Objectives?
Just like most teams in most businesses, you set out your annual objectives at the start of the year, right? And your objectives should align with your overall business goals. And your individual projects and day-to-day tasks should also align with these objectives. So, if a new project or request doesn’t align with your team’s objectives, then it might be best to push back and say “no” to help your work efficiency.
How To Say No
If a senior colleague asks you to do something, a flat “no” may not be an appropriate response. Instead it may be more suitable to say that you don’t have any capacity at the moment, outlining the key projects you’re currently working on. If the new request is to be prioritised, your colleague may suggest that one of your other projects is put on the back burner.
Say No and Manage Your Projects and Time More Effectively
When it comes to managing your time, your career, and your business, over-committing yourself isn’t a sign of success. If you’re struggling to say no, think back to all the times when you agreed to take on something new, and that in turn distracted you from your own priorities. How much time, energy, and stress you might have been saved, if you’d just been able to say no? If you don’t have time to take on more work, and you need to watch your work efficiency, next time simply say, “No, I can’t commit to that due to other priorities.” You don’t need to apologise or over-explain. Just be polite and move on.