There are many times in our office when you will hear someone refer to our workload(s) as being either feast or famine, meaning we have too much of something or too little. This happens all too often in our home lives, too. There are those [too] rare days when you’ve crossed off every task on your to-do list and can just sit back, indulge a little and relax. And then there are those days where you will have piles of laundry, dishes in the sink, company coming for dinner, children needing driven to after school activities, shopping to be done, you are invited to coffee, or cocktails, the in-laws want to drop by, a friend or family needs a favor…it’s endless. If you are finding it hard to say no effectively, you may find the following strategies for politely saying no, helpful:
1. do not offer excuses that may lead to negotiations or you might find yourself talked back into it. Instead, keep your reply simple, yet direct, say, “I would love to come, but I have another engagement,” and leave it at that.
2. be tactful. “I would love to help, however, I am so overextended that I simply do not have time.”
3. be busy, you can always change your mind. “I need to check the family calendar. Can I get back to you?”
Note: If you use a calendar/planner app on your phone, you will most likely have it with you. Do not use number 3!