A little back story first because we all love a little story. In college, in high school, in every job I’ve ever had I always get overwhelmed. I over commit myself and run a million miles an hour to get things done at the last minute. You might be thinking “why wait to the last minute?” Well I didn’t do that on purpose. It was a b product of having too much on my plate.
After the hundredth time I’ve made myself sick from exhaustion and from stress, I had enough. It was time to make a big change in my life and what I put on my plate. So, I learned the PAUSE. THINK. SAY NO. process.
It’s beautiful. Really, it is. Plus it’s simple. When asked to take on a new project, meet up for dinner, agree to do one more thing all you do is pause, think it over and then more than likely say “no.”
Want a real life example? Let’s say you are approached by a friend to speak at a local organization’s gathering next month. You have a lot going on between your work, family, side projects, etc. You do not really have the time to dedicate to preparing a presentation, plus you are not really passionate about the topic. So, you enact the PAUSE. THINK. SAY NO. technique.
You tell your friend – let me think that over, check my calendar and get back with you. Then after a few days or however long you need to mull it COMPLETELY over. You call or email your friend and say, “I took a good look at everything I have going on the next few weeks and I unfortunately do not have the time to dedicate to a presentation. I am thankful that you thought of me, but I just am unable to do this.”
See what you did? You said no, but were polite about it. No hurt feelings or friendships ruined and you do not have anything else to add to your plate. It’s magical.
If you instantly say no to someone then they will think that you are blowing them off or just being rude. So instead, take time to really think it over. If you are passionate about the project, task, or whatever it may be then by thinking it over you can decide on a game plan to get it done. Everyone can be respectful of you asking for time to think their request over. If the person is not reasonable and can’t give you time to mull it over, then you want to say no immediately!
Simple. Beautiful. Easy.