Time management - 6 tips: Work more efficiently with a friendly “No!”


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Always saying “yes” when friends, colleagues or bosses ask for something is the easiest way - but one that takes revenge over time. A friendly “No” helps with one or the other request - and for everyone involved.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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The fear of the clear “no”

Many people avoid a clear “no” like the devil does holy water. The reason: it almost always has consequences to refuse other people's wishes or requests. The other one could get angry. Or be hurt. And it can be particularly uncomfortable in everyday professional life to be offended by colleagues or even bosses. So what to do if the office neighbor asks again: "Lord ... could you please do me a little favor?" or the boss orders: "Woman ... could you do this and that for me?"

Logically, if you simply do what the other wants, you have no problems at first: You avoid conflicts, the exonerated person is happy, and you even get recognition and praise for your efforts. The only problem is: Not saying "no" also has negative consequences, because you cannot simply "not behave". Most of the time, yes-sayers are not aware of this.

Whoever does it all, forgets his own goals

The main problem: Whoever tries to make others right soon loses sight of his own goals. If you take this task off of colleague X and colleague Y's, you will soon have no time to complete your own tasks. They may become unproductive, under pressure of time and stress, and may even become aggressive.

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And worse: you run the risk of being exploited. The others don't even mean it badly: you just get used to saying "yes", start to rely on the fact that you will do it. It becomes all the more problematic if you fail to complete the promised task - you will quickly lose reputation and respect.

Acquire respect and competence

This is also scientifically proven: A study by the RespectResearchGroup (RSG) at the University of Hamburg shows: People simply have certain ideas about how competent and respectable people should be:

Namely, among other things, trustworthy, reliable and fair. If you make promises that you cannot keep, you jeopardize your good reputation. Therefore, you should not take a cuddle course with colleagues and bosses. A clear “no” that is understandable to others can increase your recognition even more. But always make it clear that you are not simply refusing an arbitrary request, but have good reasons for your “No”, and therefore act responsibly.

Honest and friendly cancel

In practice, this means taking the other person seriously, putting yourself in his situation and conveying why you have to refuse a request. It is better to admit honestly that you can not help and do not talk yourself out - this is exactly the consequence that the other person will understand and respect. But: other people always want to have the feeling that you are trying to take care of them. So the sound makes the music - the art is simply to be friendly, "No!" accept. This is especially true when dealing with bosses.

For example, if you feel overwhelmed by the demands of your manager, he will not be very enthusiastic if you despair ("I just can't do all the work") or complain aggressively ("You always meet your requirements"). Maybe you took a short breath, but you have achieved little. On the contrary, if you're unlucky, you'll soon be on the hit list.

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Kindly say “No”: 6 tips

Much better is the following procedure, because then - with a little luck - both sides are satisfied:

  1. Analyze the situation closely: what exactly bothers you, what is too much for you, what do you feel overwhelmed with? Why do not you manage to stay calm?
  2. Get ready for a strategy. Collect eg documents and arguments for your overload. For example, record minutely how busy your schedule is or pin down the negative consequences your revision could have on the company.
  3. Look for similarities with the boss's point of view, not differences. Work out the aspects in which you work with yours Chef find room for improvement and focus on your reasoning.
  4. If necessary, practice your reasoning at home so that it is no longer difficult for you to reject your boss's suggestion.
  5. Before you talk to your boss: Make sure you have a positive mood. As soon as you are agitated or aggressive inside, there is a risk of overburdening the boss with unobjectionable charges.
  6. Be constructive in your conversation with the boss: show what you can do on your own, make suggestions for improvement, and use your statistics to show why this is necessary. Choose a positive vocabulary, eg optimization or effective planning.

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