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Learn the art of saying ?no? to others

A simple ?no? can actually solve tons of problems. Hence, learn how to say ?no? to others

india Updated: Jan 21, 2004 16:18 IST

A simple ‘no’ can actually solve tons of problems. Hence, learn how to say ‘no’ to others.

Take a moment and go over the pros and cons of your life, and consider what it is that you're missing. You can come up with something you want, but do you have everything you need?

As you are reading this your immediate answer might be, "I need more time to do what I want." We all do, but do we allow ourselves that luxury? Most of us don't. The trick is to evaluate what your needs are and how you might meet them. One of the most positive ways is by learning how and when to say the single most effective word ‘no’.

Remember this fact when others try to determine how you should spend your time. If you have trouble saying ‘no’ then practise it. Realise that by saying ‘yes' you are essentially moving your own priorities aside in order to accommodate someone else’s and by doing so, your work and free time is cut even shorter than it already is.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. If I don't finish the project/task that I've agreed to, what will be the consequences?

2. Is not finishing going to be more strenuous than saying ‘no' from the start?

3. Is the request something that fits in with my own priorities and goals or will it take me away from a project I need to complete?

4. Can I delegate the project to someone else?

5. Am I hesitating to say ‘yes’

Don’t feel you have to make an excuse every time you say ‘no'. Just say it and shut your mouth. If the other person puts pressure, you can make a simple statement like "I have too much on my plate right now and wouldn't be able to do that job justice," or "I'd rather not do that right now, but let me make a suggestion…". Or "Now is not a good time, but why don't you call me in a week/ month/ year."

Handling the guilt and anger

In today's world, most couples who live together also work, sometimes carrying on lives that barely connect. It can be incredibly frustrating to try to find quality time when schedules don't mesh at all. Sometimes, one person ends up doing more than his or her share of housework or child care while the other seems caught up in business. Situations like these cause one partner to be angry, while the other usually manages a load of guilt. Each one tries to find the time to make all ends meet — often unsuccessfully. How do you handle the guilt and anger? Through planning and a lot of compromise. Here are some suggestions:

1. Sit down and write out all the things you need to do.

2. Agree on who will do which chores, then post the list where everyone can see it.

3. Agree that if either of you has a work-related emergency, the other will take over — and arrange some way to repay the person who has taken on the extra work.

4. Make sure #3 doesn't happen more than three times in a row.

5. Decide exactly what is and isn't necessary around the house. If you don’t need to iron the sheets, don’t. Send out a load of laundry to the cleaner on occasion.

6. Don’t buy a house that requires gardening upkeep unless that's a natural relaxation technique for one of you. Remember how time consuming gardens are!

7. Get rid of your guilt about take-out food or leftovers. It’s okay to have pizza occasionally. Not only does it save time and energy, but most of the time it costs the same as a home-cooked meal.

8. Create ways to socialise that will combine your business and personal friends. That way, you'll both get to see the people you care about.

9. Instead of inviting people for dinner, invite them for dessert or a quick potluck, where everyone brings their favorite meal. That way, you can entertain without having to plan for days ahead of time.

10. Plan time for "dates". Most working couples forget the reasons they got together in the first place — they enjoyed each other's company. Schedule times when you can both get together to relax. Make it a date and keep it!

In addition to taking care of the daily routine make sure you keep in contact with yourself and your mate about important matters. Don't converse about urgent things in brief moments before you both head in separate directions. Take the time to sit down face to face or schedule a drive where the two of your are alone in a car without other interruptions. Surprisingly, doing this in the car forces people to make decisions and also allows the freedom to say how you really feel because no one can walk away and you're both looking forward or out the windows. It's amazing that more psychiatrists don’t recommend the car as a safe place for couples to work out the details of their lives.

And perhaps most importantly, when you get everything done on time and your life feels more in control, build in some rewards. Once you meet a goal, give yourself a gift, whether it's simply lying on a chaise lounge under a tree listening to the squirrels chattering to each other or a fancy meal at the nicest restaurant in town. You deserve it — and life is too short to keep rushing around without taking time for yourself.

First Published: Jan 21, 2004 14:56 IST