Reduce Your Workload by Learning How to Say “NO”

If you find yourself always taking on more than you can handle, you probably have a problem with saying no. It makes you feel guilty, right? But when you say yes when you wanted to say no, that makes you feel worse.

When someone is looking for help, they’re going to call the first “yes” they think they can get. They call you because you’ve established the reputation of being that easy “yes.” Here’s how to turn that around.

The next time you get asked to help, and you know you don’t have time, don’t just say no. Learn how to say it without the guilt. Take these four steps:

  1. Acknowledge the request, as if you would like to help.
  2. Say “No,” and maintain a pleasant facial expression, even if it’s on the phone.
  3. End your response with something positive and upbeat.
  4. Remove yourself from the situation.

Instead of: “No, I can’t do it.” (This will make you feel guilty.)

Try this: “What a great idea! Unfortunately, I don’t have the extra time to devote to such a worthwhile cause. I wish you the best with this and hope you’ll let me know how it turns out!”

Once you say no, remove yourself from the situation so they can’t keep trying to convince you. Say it and get out of there, get off the phone, or bow your head and get back to work. It’ll be tough to do this at first, but the more you try it, the easier it’ll get.

Say No By Saying Yes First

Another way to say no is to say yes first. For example: “Can you do this work for less?”

  • “Yes I can, but I would not be able to give your project the time needed to do a quality job and you deserve better.”
  • “Yes, but we will not have complete success, and that’s all you’ll repeat or remember. I want you to be 100 percent satisfied.”
  • “Yes, but I have to maintain a certain profit margin in order to continue servicing my clients in the way they deserve.”

It’s often hard to get your own work done because you’re so busy helping everyone else. You can be a good community citizen or outstanding team player without always putting your needs and desires last.


Two Tips for Deleting Email Messages Quicker

When I sit down to deal with messages in my Inbox, I make decisions right then on what to do with each one. I keep my Inbox to one screen and don’t worry about promises, commitments, or deadlines falling through the cracks. Most messages are deleted. Here are two tips for deleting messages in Outlook (I use 2007. Works the same in 2003).
  • Turn off the warning, Are you sure? If this pesky box bothers you, it’s easy to turn it off. When I hit Delete, I want it gone and don’t want to give permission. From the Inbox, click Tools, Options, Other tab, Advanced Options, and untick the box, Warn before permanently deleting items.
  • Bypass the Deleted Items folder. If you’re sure you never want to see the message again (as in spam), permanently delete it so you don’t have to delete it again. Select the message (if it’s closed), hold down the Shift key then hit Delete. If you’re on an Exchange server, the message can be recovered. Otherwise, it’s gone!
Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert

Shameless Self-Promotion Defined

When it comes to training, I like to stay in my lane and stick to teaching what I know and love. For me, that’s personal productivity and teaching people how to work smarter: get organized, streamline processes, and use technology the right way.

But then something kept happening.

People started to ask me how I was getting so much national, major publicity. They wanted to know who my publicist was. I’d say “Google.” Huh? Yep, Google. I don’t have to pitch stories because journalists find me on the first page of organic searches when they’re looking for someone with my expertise. Prospective clients do too. Lucky for me, although I didn’t know what search engine optimization (SEO) was back then, everything I was doing was it.

I started sharing the tactics I’d used, then I gave a few seminars about it, then I wrote an ebook.

My Shameless Self-Promotion: Do-It-Yourself SEO (link is to my ebook) seminar is becoming the most popular speaking request I receive, particularly when the audience is business owners.

At a recent American Express event, getting found online was the number one thing business owners wanted to talk about. So I’m going with the flow, veering a little out of my lane, and giving people what they want.

So what do I mean by shameless self-promotion? It’s not going around patting yourself on the back telling everyone who will listen how wonderful you are. My definition is that you use every opportunity you have and every marketing tool you have access to to promote what you know. Help people. Deliver value. As you promote what you know online (blog posts, how-to videos, press releases, social media, etc), the search engines will eat it up.

So how are you promoting what you know?