A virtual assistant practice is busy and ultra fast-paced. It’s incredibly easy to become over-committed. No one wants to be continually considered the “one who dropped the ball” member of the team. Also, it can be exciting to suddenly jump into a new project or to try and show your skills to your client, especially if you are new to partnering with them. Unfortunately, this leads to taking on a lot of extra work, which may not be the wisest and most effective use of your productivity time. and can make it very difficult for you to ever say no.
The Power of No: Why “Yes” Means Less
Agreeing to do tasks that are beyond your normal workload can lead to many serious issues. The obvious side effects of extra work are things like stress, unhappiness, and a bad mood. There are, however, health issues to consider as well. Overworking yourself can lead to stress or tension headaches, listlessness, and lack of sleep. Trust me, I know.
It’s time to sit at the grown-ups table and learn to say no so that you don’t become overbooked, over-committed and looking down the barrel of stress and burnout. If you need a quick catch up on saying no, there are few posts here in this blog:
Saying “No” is good for you, your virtual assistant practice, your clients and your work-life balance. Here are three reasons why:
This isn’t a selfish reason. You need to stay motivated and engaged, while keeping productivity high. What can be a better upside than having the time to do all the stuff that you actually enjoy? Work can be full of tasks and projects that aren’t necessarily what you’re interested in, so instead of getting involved in them because it’s easy to say yes, you can say no and wait for something more interesting to come along. It may even help you to connect with the ultimate client you’ve been searching for or find a new avenue for your business that you hadn’t considered before.
Optional projects are just that — optional. If you’re not going to be fully engaged with it, you should pass on the work and focus on making what you are working on even better. This gives you room to do what you would prefer to do, and you’re not taking an opportunity away from someone who could genuinely want it.
Sometimes you just need a break, and that’s a hard thing to do when you’re focused on work. You obviously have to do your job or you’re in breach of contract, but taking on optional work means you’re making it hard to just take a quiet moment for “you.”
As a professional who works at home, you are continually surrounded by reminders of work. Your office is just over there, you can see it, you can hear it mentally saying, “Psst .. come here and get something done. You don’t need to go out for a walk…..”
There’s nothing wrong with saying no to an extraneous conference call, if it’s not within your boundary business hours or a rush imperative. Yes, you do need to “take one for the team” every once in awhile .. but not all the time. By saying no, you can decompress and will wake up the next morning in a much better head space, feeling happy, well rested and ready to take on the world. This can make your work more efficient and higher quality, much more so than if you were tired from attending a meeting that had little to no relevance.
Breaks = Good
It can be a struggle to remember it or come to terms with it, but breaks are not a bad thing – they are a good thing. Relaxing from time to time is not a sin, and it certainly doesn’t make you lazy. It makes you fully charged and ready for when you’re needed in your actual role, and it allows you to feel happier and healthier in your normal day.
When you say yes to everything, it can create the impression that you have plenty of time on your hands and that your time can be wasted. This is almost always not true – your time is precious. The more you consistently say no, the more people will realize that your time is valuable, and that you won’t be saying yes to something unless you have to be involved in it. It also helps you to realize that your time is valuable and you will eventually gain a higher respect for it.
The more that you’re able to demonstrate the value of your time, the more respect you’ll get for your time from others. This will prompt people to only ask you for your time when they really need it, instead of just asking you because you’re the person in the office that always says yes. This will hopefully encourage people to approach others because of their particular skill set, and not their easiness to saying the word yes. It also leaves you with more time to focus on what you’re best at.
It’s good and healthy to say no, but there obviously needs to be a gentle and kind manner when doing so. Try to provide a legitimate reason when you’re saying no and avoid being rude. And remember, if you’re being asked to do something that is crucial to your role, or mandatory for your team, it’s best to say yes. After that, it’s up to you when you say no.
Since 2006, Out of the Office has offered 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, content writing and offering creative solutions for your business success.
Image credit: Denise Dukette | CC BY-ND 2.0