Only Two Letters Yet This Word is Empowering And Improves Productivity

By Ruth Barringham

A few days ago a neighbour asked me for a favour. It wasn’t a huge favour but it was an imposition on my time.

I don't want to say what the favour was because the person will know I was talking about them.

It's a neighbour that I quite like because she has a really dry sense of humour that makes me laugh a lot.

Anyway, she asked me to do something and I said "sure."

But later I regretted saying yes and realise that the only reason I did was because I like her and we get along.

Fortunately, it turned out that she didn't need my help after all so I was let off the proverbial hook.

But it got me to thinking about how often I say yes to things without thinking, or when I want to say no but I don't want to let someone down.

A few years ago I read a short article about how all answers should be either Hell Yeah! or no. And my neighbour asking me for a favour (which really wasn't THAT important) was definitely not a Hell Yeah moment.

After I read that article I did start using the advice and it worked wonderfully because I said no to so many things that weren't important at all to me which freed up my time immensely.

Also it's so great to have the guts to say no to a request I had no interest in.

I even went as far as asking, "what's in it for me?" And do you know what? There never was anything in it for me.

Don't get me wrong, if someone wasn't desperate need of help, I'd help them, but most requests are for non-urgent things.

Can you give me a lift to the station?
Can you look after my child/dog while I get my hair done?
Can I borrow your [ whatever ]?
How about if I come round tomorrow and we can catch up?
Want to come shopping and help me choose a new couch?
Can you help me with my website?
Can you rewrite this for me?
Can I stay at your place for a couple of nights?
I'm going to plant a herb garden. Want to help?

The answer to all these is never Hell Yeah! Therefore I started saying no.

And the best thing about it, is once you start saying no people stop asking.

Saying no doesn't help with popularity but it does help to set boundaries of what I will and won't do.

And for times when I'm unsure about saying yes, I usually say, "I think about it.”

But if they insist on having an answer straightaway (which I found is usually what teenagers do to pressure their parents into a fast yes answer) I say, "If you want an answer right now then it's no. But if you want to leave it with me, I'll think about it." That usually works like a dream.

And the really, REALLY, best thing about saving no, is that it frees up more time for the things that I really want to do; the things that are important to me.

So after I said yes to my neighbour and regretted it, I made up my mind to go back to saying Hell Yeah! or no.

And would you believe it? The very next day someone asked me for a favour that I didn't want to do, so I used the typical Australian way of saying no by saying yes first. It goes like this:

"Yeeeaaaah… Nuh.”

And now I’m sitting and writing this instead of using the time to do someone else a favour that wasn’t even important.

Will I keep it up? “Nuuuhh… Yeah.”

So remember, next time someone wants you to do something that you really don’t want to do, say no and use the time to write more instead.

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