… as opposed to saying ‘no, too busy!’
Yesterday a colleague reminded me of one of the most effective ways to stop being busy – say ‘no’ more often. My wife deploys two versions of this approach.
“Let me check my diary and get back to you.”
This is her ‘go to’ solution. It buys time to think (and check), it creates a space that can be filled by a polite ‘no’ or an exuberant ‘yes’. The point is that she reserves the right to choose. We also use a variation where we do not commit each other to anything without checking with the other – even things that look great get checked out first.
“If I say yes to this, I’ll need to say no to something else.”
This technique recognises that we have to accept trade-offs if we are to avoid over-commitment. It reinforces the choice that she will make, and emphasises that what is being asked has a cost associated with it.
I like both approaches, although I’m not (yet) as proficient at using them as she is.