Why Saying No At Work Is Important
If you’ve got a full plate of things to do, it’s essential to understand lost opportunity costs. Because every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else that you could be doing instead.
Remember, there’s only 168 hours in the week. So, there’s always a trade-off.
Your default position should be no until you consciously give up one or more existing activities in order to say yes.
Of course, just because something proposed is a good idea doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for your company now.
Common Activities To Reject
When it comes to saying no, there are some easy decisions if you evaluate what you’re being asked to do at work by employees, business partners, customers, suppliers, etc. These include…
- Activities that deliver no value to your business
- Low value activities that should be done by someone else (outsource or delegate)
- Things you don’t like to do (pay someone else to handle if it’s important)
How Often Should Business Owners Say No
For every one yes to a new activity that takes up your time, try to say no 10 times to others.
This type of harsh scrutiny is similar to the way venture capitalists evaluate startups for funding. Rough 97% of proposals are rejected. In other words, a venture capital firm says no over 30 times for every yes.
Make The Time Trade-Off
In order to have true freedom as you grow your business, it’s essential to make trade-offs when you do say yes to a new activity.
In other words, consciously choose 3-5 activities you will sacrifice in order to make time for the one new activity. Ideally, you’re replacing several lower value activities with one higher value activity plus freeing up time for yourself in the process — particularly if it’s a 5:1 trade-off.
Don’t be afraid you’ll miss the opportunity of a lifetime by saying no at work. There’s never a must-do deal. And even if it might objectively be an excellent opportunity for someone else, if a proposed activity doesn’t fit your priorities, protect your time by taking a pass.