Sunday, November 6, 2011

Creativity Tips: Say NO in November


I planned to post this on Nov. 1 to kick off the month. But, as time approached, that started to feel like a self-imposed, needless deadline during a very busy week. So I followed my own advice. I began November by saying NO to myself.

Say NO in November is my annual campaign to reclaim the holiday season and whatever remains of my sanity every year. It's very simple. I say NO whenever I receive a request that would add more stress than joy to my life.

Let me make this perfectly clear: Stress doesn't mean it's a negative event I'm rejecting. This past week, I said NO to leading worship on Saturday morning at the synagogue. Leading worship certainly gives me joy -- but I have to prepare. I have to review. I get nervous beforehand.

I refuse to make time for all that right now. I simply want to enjoy November and December. So I said NO.

Stress, as I'm defining it, could be related to time, people, effort, energy. It could be spacial stress -- the event is on the other side of town. It could be psychic stress -- you're not sure about the expectations tied to the request. It could be family stress -- you really, really, really don't want to spend 30 more minutes in the same room with that particular cousin.

Whatever it is, formalizing your approach makes it simple to say NO. You don't have to come up with any excuse. You don't have to feel guilty. You are part of the Say NO in November campaign.

In my experience, it's best to make your participation in the campaign known ahead of time. That not only fends off requests, but makes it incredibly easy to reject them. People are prepared for the NO. If you're blindsided, use the official campaign response. Come on, practice it with me:

"Thank you so much! I appreciate the (offer/invite/whatever). However, I've joined the Say NO in November campaign. So, thanks again, but NO."

Like this idea? Stick around. You're gonna love DECLINE in December.

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