Monday, November 25, 2013

Learn to Say "No" and Preserve Your Sanity

The holidays are right around and the corner, year-end reports are due, co-workers are asking you to cover for them on vacation and the boss wants everything done yesterday.
It's no wonder you may be feeling a bit stressed.
But could the stress be generated not from outside forces but your own actions?
At a recent Families and Work Institute conference, President Ellen Galinsky says that many employers are noticing a growing problem of employees being always "on." They answer e-mails at night and on weekends and work outside of regular hours when they're supposed to be off.
Employers are worried about worker burnout, she says.
One of the biggest problems for many workers today is that they can't say "no," says says Preston Ni, a professor of communications studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif.; a career coach; and trainer.
"There's always the concern in the workplace of social rejection or career consequences for saying no," Ni says. "Maybe you don't want to hurt someone's feelings by saying no, or doing so makes you feel guilty."
The problem is that by not learning to say "no," you then become a victim and risk burnout, he says.
The most successful people learn how to manage their own time effectively and aren't buffeted with demands from various sources, Ni says. They are still busy, just not overwhelmed.
With all the year-end activities and deadlines many of us are facing, Ni has advice to let you say "no," take control of your life, and be happier and more successful:
• Set boundaries. If a colleague approaches you about covering for her while she's taking some time off, you can say "no" diplomatically by saying something like, "Unfortunately, I have a lot on my plate as well."
Or "it is important to me that I finish this project, so I need to focus on these tasks." Another option: Say you're "uncomfortable" taking on the other tasks at this time.
• Learn to engage and disengage. Instead of turning down a colleague's request for help, you can offer to take a specific piece of the task, and then (read more here)

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