“No” is the new “Yes”

We don't say NO enough to our kids, to our colleagues, to our clients, … (we do say it most to ourselves!)

Anyone who is/was a parent of a toddler would surely recall countless situations where the kid (somehow super charged on steroids) constantly and repeatedly makes request to you. Can I have this? Can I have that? One piece will do? One more ok? etc … it is like a real-world DoS attack on the parent, till the parent times out and frustratingly agrees, "yes, yes, just take it and go."

Maybe it's the way we humans are wired, to be inherently nice. We say yes to colleagues request more often than not. We say yes to client's request all the time. We say yes to demanding bosses. … the story goes on.

It is time to say: NO

No, you can't have another cookie.

No, you can't watch TV before bed.

No, I can't help you with this project.

No, this is too last minute, our team needs at least 2 days to complete the proposal.

No, this is not up to standard.

No, I will not respond to email after work hours, call me if there is an urgent matter.

Saying "No", helps setup boundaries to your work and allows you to focus on the task at hand. For the receiving party, it helps them to respect your time and also you as a person/colleague. 

As a parent, it teaches your kids to respect you and that what you say matters.

By rejecting tasks allows you to focus on what's really important and hence make a more significant difference. 

Taking a saying from Steve Jobs, 

"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things."

Ok, I'm not asking you to turn into a rude and unfriendly colleague, but to re-evaluate what requires your attention, and what can be delegated, re-assigned or simply turned away.

How do you evaluate if a task needs to get done?

1. Use Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle

Without going into too much details, work on the tasks that are urgent and important, and always try your very best to say "No" to the distractions and interruptions.

2. Is this a favour you need to give back, or is there a favour you need in the future?

Pay it forward with a helpful gesture, even if it means going out of your way. Perhaps, a colleague had helped you out before and needs your assistance this time round; or you foresee in the near future you require your colleagues help. Then it might be justifiable to give a "Yes".

3. Do you have a direct interest in the matter?

Let's say HR comes to enlist your help to organize the company party, and you, being the fun you, loves to party. Since it coincides with interest, why not jump in and nurture your interest at the same time. It could be as simple as being a event photographer, to more complex matters such as researching potential new markets to develop.

At the end of the day, you'll have evaluate your priorities and determine where your time can be better spent.

Start saying No, and focus on what is truly important.

#ParentingIsTheNewMBA #SucceedAtWork #CareerTips #ParentingSkills

"Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column combines of 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.

About Edwin Ting

I help brands drive ROI through branding and digital marketing. With 10+ years of China marketing experience across agency, media and ecommerce brand, I have helped various brands drive business in China.

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