The Power of “No” .. Revisited

How often do you use the word “no” to protect your time, productivity and creativity? You are probably aware of the power of “no” when it comes to the concept of time-management as a whole, but you may have overlooked it purely as a technique to boost your productivity and more so to your creative output.

Begin by moving away from asking yourself how much time a task, project or interruption is going to take, and start asking instead how much productivity or creativity it is going to cost you. Whether you are a creator, or are trying to grow your business, every minute that you are not focused on your core interest delays your success and achievement.

Back in September, we wrote about the mastering the art of saying “no” to your clients. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read that piece, feel free to catch up. As a quick recap of 4 times when it is essential for you and your business to say no:

  • When the client isn’t prepared
  • When you are already stretched to the max
  • When you can’t meet their expectations
  • Say no to clients who don’t value your services

Yes Makes Less

There is always a risk of overuse, and saying no too often will make you seem unfriendly, selfish, uncaring, anti-social and even aloof, so the key is to find the right balance. Some interruptions are necessary: the occasional dinner with friends, a trip to the cinema with your family and some time to relax, but you should still always ask yourself how much output it is going to cost.

The idea of an overnight success is a myth, it is more akin to an up-all-night success supported by years of groundwork, failures, and many, many utterances of ‘no’. Every idea is perfected through practice, finding solutions, eliminating problems and trial and error; lots of trial and error. All of this requires time, and the less time you have, the less you achieve and create.

Do it Right!

There is a right way and a wrong way to say things. How you decline to take on a client, an additional task, a new project, or a rush project is just as important. A flat out, attitude drive “no” is not going to go over well. It presents you and your business in an unprofessional, immature manner. Explain why you cannot accept at this time and let your honesty and transparency show through. Learn to stand firm when someone is aggressive in their tactics. If you are overbooked or don’t have the experience to meet the client’s needs, then by all means feel free to recommend another virtual assistant.

Productivity .. Ready, Start, Go!

Isn’t it time for you to take charge of your output again? Start today by saying “no” to the next non-essential interruption that presents itself – not “maybe” and not “I’ll think about it,” a solid, confident “no” is required.

About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:

logo1bAt Out of the Office, we offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.

Image credit: geralt | CCO Public Domain



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  1. Pingback: 3 Reasons Why You Should Just Say No | Out of the Office

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