Eyes Up #1 – When is the right time to say NO?

no-68481_1920Why the blog I hear you ask? I’m a 40 something working parent with things to share. But this is not about my story – although I’m sure bits of my personal journey will come out along the way – this blog is here because the world is a place where how people relate to each other matters, and by sharing thoughts, ideas and feedback, even in this fast food format, we can be better equipped to make choices in life we are comfortable with, whatever they may be. So don’t spend your time looking down and pondering your toes, keep your Eyes Up and look around you – sometimes you’ll see things that will challenge, surprise, inspire and delight you!

I’d like to start my first entry with a Bible Quote from Ecclesiastes:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, … a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance….” and so on – to which I would add, there is a time to say NO. The ability to say NO to things in our working life has long been touted as a required skill for time management, but being a glass half full type of person, saying NO has always seemed to summon up overly negative vibes for me. So is it possible to say NO in a positive way?

Saying NO to things can make you feel in control and get people’s attention fast – but in my experience it can also lead to people avoiding or going around you, as well as seeing you in a negative light – which in a work and home environment can lead to frustration and resentment for all involved. Hence we tend to lean towards bargaining rather than the outright NO, for example – I’ll handle that query for you if you ensure my document is approved, or you can have ice cream for dessert if you eat all your vegetables.

But saying NO to things can yield surprising results – for me, saying NO to driving my car to work every day not only produced cost savings but gave me time to tune out and rest on the way to and from work; my kids learnt more independence in travelling by bus and working out their own way home from various places.

Why is this type of NO a win? Used in this way, NO is not a time management tool – and I’m a big advocate of positive time management – but in this case, saying NO was a valid choice. The choice had pros and cons, was well considered, and still contained flexibility – if I chose to, I CAN still drive my car to work – for example when one of my kids needs to be somewhere before the bus can reasonably get him there, or when I need to be home at a very specific time.

So I consider saying NO not as a power play, but as a valid, positive, choice when exercised at the right moment.

I’d love to hear your views on using NO – and get comments and feedback on Eyes Up – so post or get in touch!

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3 Comments

  1. I totally agree – being able to say NO is very important in life and at work. It’s something I have difficulty with – either because I don’t want to hurt other people’s feeling or simply trying to be helpful. Would love to hear from others who have mastered this as to when is the time to say no, and how to deliver the message without making others feel rejected or considering me being unhelpful.

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  2. From the Swanage seafront, the thought over two chocolate brownies is that chronos is not the same as kairos. I wonder if the concept of Kairos perhaps is a way of considering decisions in the now according to principles. So there is probably something in our time paradigms that removes no and must and should as categories. At least that is what the last crab said before we threw it back,

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