Breaking the “yes” habit

Was reviewing a couple of evaluation forms when I read a comment that caught my attention, it stood out penciled “learn how to say no” – another way of saying break the “yes” habit – that’s when you find it difficult to decline a request, particularly work-related. It’s that guilty feeling of having to turn down somebody, especially if it’s supposed to be a small favor and something you can easily do, that gets you saying yes almost every time, to a fault. But how do you break this habit?

While saying you’re “too busy” doesn’t always send the right message, add to that the pressure of having to be as accommodating and nice to everyone as possible, especially if you’re the new guy, nothing beats being totally honest and straightforward with your work priorities and schedule.

Being everyone’s dependable, run-to fellow doesn’t necessarily translate to you being considered as a team player and big-time contributor, it might actually mean everyone sees you as the jack-of-all-trades – good at everything but is never a standout at one thing, ouch!

So before saying yes (or no), consider your own schedule and priorities for the day, and be honest about the consequences should these targets are not met. Of course, if others see you idle most of the time, then they will definitely doubt you. But if you are indeed focused and hard at work, you’ll earn your colleagues’ respect and your boss’s trust.

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