Instead of Saying “Yes,” Say “Yes, If …” so As Not to Overdo It.

When it’s so hard to say no, it’s so easy to overdo it . Get around this problem by answering “Yes … if …” to queries about your time and energy that do not matter to you most.

The Strategy + Business blog encourages you to say yes to the requirements or requests that you best satisfy and that have the most value for your company. For everything else, add this “if” and find other ways to satisfy those requests without overwhelming you:

This shrewd approach forces you to tackle the performance problem head-on. This could mean delegating tasks to others, negotiating a reduction in your specific contribution, or simply refusing to justify the business case as to why your contribution would have a greater impact elsewhere. The secondary benefit of questioning the value and ownership of a task is that you acknowledge whether it should be done in the first place and challenge the assumption that it should be done the way it is done.

So, for example, “yes, I can complete this project – if the deadline can be postponed two weeks ago” or “yes, I can give you this TPS report if someone else can do another TPS report on my plate.” You don’t have to say no, and you also protect yourself from taking on more than you can handle.

Yes vs. Yes, If …: Using Your Specific Contribution to Drive Priorities | Strategy + Business


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