How to Say No to Overcommitment | Giftie Etcetera: How to Say No to Overcommitment

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to Say No to Overcommitment

One glance at my planner shows how overcommitted I happen to be this week. Unfortunately, I made the commitments before I knew that I would have three big "my kid has epilepsy" type appointments. 

Planner, Time Management

Saying no takes dedication and practice, but you can do it.

*Decide your priorities in advance.

My kids' medical procedures come first. I have a list of goals that I want to reach in my planner.

*Write times to do those priorities in your planner.

I book times to workout and do my legal job on my calendar. I write down dates with my husband.

*When a request for your time comes in, consider whether it fits your priorities.

If not, it's probably a no unless your schedule is really clear and you want to do it.

*Don't apologize, make excuses, or look ashamed. Just say no.

If you sound like you are considering saying yes, some people will take that opportunity to sell you on their requests.

*Do pull out your calendar and make a show of checking your time.

Who can argue against a full monthly spread? The visual will make people respect your no as a thoughtful, considered response.


3 comments: said...

That's exactly why I like to take my planner with me. Without actually looking at my schedule, it's easy to say yes to things.

For example, in our Sunday School class, people volunteer to bring treats. There was a need one week and I checked my calendar. I saw that I worked the day before so I knew making treats would be stressful. So I didn't sign up. It's a small thing but those small things can really muck up your schedule.

And that's why when I look at my calendar to decide whether to say yes or not to something, I also check the days around it to see how busy I am overall. Just because I'm free that day doesn't mean I should say yes.

Great post.

WellPlannedLife said...

While I agree making a show of checking my calendar show I'm truly considering it, I find that it works better for me not to check it in front of the person. Saying, "I'm not sure, let me check my calendar and get back to you" allows me some time to really think about whether it's something I want to do or not. If my calendar doesn't allow for it, I can easily say no. But I tend to say yes to something simply because I "have the time." But what usually ends up happening is that I wish I hadn't said yes, feel guilty about not wanting to do it, won't want to take back a commitment I made, and get grumpy and stressed out about it. So for me, it's much better if I really take the time to think about it before responding.

Anna said...

It really helps me to know my priorities, and have a clear idea of what will help reach those priorities or not. In a vacuum, lots of things seem like good ideas, but when in the context of other priorities, it changes. With some things I will check with my husband first to see what else we have going on. We have been known to make conflicting social arrangements. I also use him as a "I need some more time to think" excuse. I try not to use a delaying tactic too much, though, because it can raise people's expectations unnecessarily.

I have learned that with a few pushy people, I need to say no without any explanation. If I say, "No, because..." they will argue no matter what follows. A simple no does the trick. :)