Your schedule is already bursting at the seams with tasks and appointments. Adding more just to please others can lead to overwhelm, making it difficult to fulfil these requests after all. Your own priorities are compromised as well. Each yes comes with a cost wherein you’re essentially saying no to other opportunities along the way.

Do you often say yes when someone asks you for a favor?

Do you give in to people’s requests, even if you’ve already got too much on your plate or a very busy schedule?

If you’re worried about hurting feelings or burning a bridge or two, there are ways to frame the no so you remain polite, professional, and likeable to others.

 “The idea sounds great! It’s just that . . . “

Start on a positive note by sincerely complimenting or thanking the person for thinking of you.

You can then follow it up with an honest reason why you can’t accept the request or why you won’t be able to make it to this engagement.

 “Let me think about it.”

This is a polite and professional way of asking for more time to consider the request. As a busy leader, you often need to think things through before making any decisions.

 “I can’t today. How about [insert new schedule]?”

This is best for when you truly believe the request is worth looking into again in the future.

If you’re absolutely sure this is something you want to consider again, offer to reschedule at a better time when you can devote your full attention.

 “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

If you’ve got no time or interest in fulfilling the request, a straightforward no is the best answer you can give. There’s no room for false hope and you can rest assured that you’re still on track with your schedule and goals.

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