We've talked about why it's important to say "No" before. Saying no bolsters focus. Saying no tactfully can be difficult, though, so create a few scripts for yourself that say no nicely.
Photo by Horia Varlan
Research has shown that the way you say "No" affects how likely you are to give in (for instance, if you use the word "Don't" instead of "Can't" you will be more resilient to external pressure). If a lot of people are reaching out for requests or asking for your time and energy, create default scripts that you can fall back on to respond to them. Entrepreneur Dan Martell shares some examples:
List of Circumstances & My Responses
Invest in a startup
Unfortunately it's not an opportunity that I feel I could add a lot of value to, so I'm going to pass.
Schedule a call
Appreciate the opportunity but unfortunately I'm already committed, can we start with email? How can I help?
Take a meeting
Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, scheduling a meeting is tough, let's start with an email. How can I help?
...and so on. He has a really big list that's well worth looking at. Obviously, you'd tweak them to fit the kinds of requests you get most often. Heck, you could even put them in your text expander so they're always just a few keystrokes away.
Remember, saying no to external demands doesn't mean you're mentally giving someone the middle finger. It's about staying focused on your tasks at hand and sticking to your original goals and plans.
How Saying No Allows Me to Do More [Dan Martell]