Ten Tips for Saying "No"

Eileen Bailey Health Guide

    So many adults with ADHD are overstressed, overbooked and overwhelmed. How many times do you end up telling someone you will help out, join in or volunteer your time? Do you do so impulsively or because you just don't like saying "no" to someone?  The following are some tips to help you remember "you" first, before obliging yourself to one more chore, task or volunteer opportunity.


    To help yourself decide whether you should say "Yes" or "No" to a request, follow these tips:


    1. Always ask if you can answer the next day. This gives you time to think about the commitment you will be making before making a quick decision.

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    2. Decide if this is something you want to do or if you are saying "yes" only because you feel guilty saying "no." If so, then imagine how guilty you will feel if you cannot follow through on your obligations because of other commitments. Make your decision based on whether it is a commitment you want to make, not on the level of guilt associated with saying "no."


    3. Decide if you have the time right now. No matter how much you want to do something, if you do not have the time to do it properly and with the amount of attention it requires, you will not be doing yourself or the other person any favors by saying yes. Work up how much time your new commitment will take on a daily/weekly basis and determine if your schedule will allow it.


    4. Talk the new commitment over with a spouse or trusted friend before making a final decision. This will help you look at the commitment from a more objective point of view.


    5. Determine if this new commitment will fit into your goals and priorities. If one of your priorities is to spend more time with your family, then determine if this commitment will interfere with that priority. If your goal is to spend time working on your career, determine if this new commitment will hinder this in any way.


    6. Determine if there is an immense amount of work required in a short period of time, decide if you might want to say yes but with modifications to the request.


    7. If this is a commitment you would really like to honor but do not have time for the entire project, see if you could share the work with someone else so that each of you have less work but can still stay involved.


    8. Look at what you may need to give up in order to complete this request. If you will need to put other obligations on hold or give them up completely, decide if it is worth it to do that. Take on this commitment only if it is not going to interfere with your other obligations.


    9. Keep the saying "If in doubt-don't" in mind. If you are unsure, then say no, at least for the time being until you can be sure you can provide the level of commitment the project will demand.


    10. Be honest with the person making the request and let them know of your reservations or why you are saying "No." Let them know you are flattered they thought of you.


Published On: March 11, 2008