This is something I used to struggle with, until I learnt how to start doing it right.
By day, I am a blogging coach; but through the day, I used to get multiple demands on my time and found myself completely overwhelmed to the point of near burnout.
The truth is, knowing how to say ‘No’ is an art and here’s what I’ve learnt to do.
If you’re a coach too, these tips may help. If you’re not a coach, you can apply this to other areas of your life.
Being a blog coach who also has an active presence on social media implies that I am available on every platform, at any time of the day.
This also meant I was checking notifications through the day and replying to all of them instead of actually focusing more on client work or my own blog.
Then, I learnt to let people know that while I was on every platform, I would prefer and respond best to e-mail alone. If I did see a tag or a message on a social media platform, I would take my time to reply to it, even if I had ‘seen’ the message.
It is also important to clearly explain the difference between private and public forms of communication. For instance, I use Whatsapp primarily to keep in touch with family and close friends.
If blogging clients reach out to me there, I don’t respond. Or if I do, it is to ask them to e-mail me their questions.
Over time, people learnt to respect this rule.
Say No to things you do not know
Just because you’re a coach doesn’t mean you’re a qualified expert in every topic out there. Learn to gently let people know if you’re not the right person for the job.
Say No when you don’t have time
One of the things to do at the beginning of each week is to budget how much time you have for clients and your other work. That means if you don’t have time for new clients that week, let them know. The easiest way to do this is to set up a schedule calendar and send them the link.
Say No to things that don’t work for your business
It’s very tempting to go chasing every potential collaboration and brand sponsorship.
Each day brings about 5 to 10 such e-mails to my inbox. I quickly sift through them and either delete the ones that are not a good fit or send a quick one-liner saying that this won’t work out.
Say No because YOU matter
It’s incredible how much people place demands on your time because they believe it’s freely available.
Guard your time strictly and cherish it like a treasured possession.
You can always offer help, mentorship, free advice and workshops if that is something you want to do. But here’s the difference: YOU decide the time, not others.