Have you noticed the rise of “No”vember posts this year? It comes with the tagline: A time to start saying “no” to people, places and things that drain your energy.
While you can’t always say no to an employer or family, it’s a timely reminder that our energy is a limited resource. Towards the end of the year your time is often in short supply. Some ‘energy drains’ are inevitable but there’s often unnecessary events that pop up in the two months before Christmas – purely because it’s the end of the year.
For example, I currently work with at least a dozen research teams and organisations in a mostly volunteer capacity as a research collaborator. ‘No”vember has impelled me to ask whether a meeting time is critical, or could we regroup in early February.
Creating space for yes
Some well-placed nos are an effective way of creating space for things you want to say yes to. For example, the social or cultural experiences that provide joy or wonder.
It also means having time to exercise, shop and cook from scratch.
Reducing time pressure is vital for our mental robustness. We all need a little space to decompress, dream and sleep.
If you’ve practiced a few hard nos this month, it’s just a warm up for the year to come!
But what about when no really is the hardest word, or you’ve said it but no one’s listened?
Here are a few tips to firm your boundaries.
- Don’t justify your no, you don’t need to give a reason.
- Be clear what’s a hard no (not now, not ever) versus not having the time or bandwidth right now. If the latter, offer an alternative that suits you.
- Be aware of FOMO! Listen to your gut. You know that the opportunity you want to decline is for a good reason and you aren’t missing out on anything you truly desire doing.
- Focus on the positive gain. For example, what you can use the time for, eg rest and recharge, be inspired, or catch up with people you really want to hang out with.
For more insight and solutions read how to say goodbye to people pleasing.