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  • Thomas Storteboom

If saying "NO" is hard, try saying "LATER" instead.

I get it. Telling people “no” can be tough. It feels like rejection. No one wants to get rejected. However, when it comes to ideas, saying “yes” all the time causes problems.

You have a great company culture. You value everyone’s thoughts and ideas. You want to work on all of them. So you say “yes”. Every time. All the time.

It happens so often that the list of projects your team is working on is a mile long. Saying “yes” just created too much to do. Turns out, this is overwhelming to most people. You have probably also heard people ask “why are we working on this?”

If this is you and saying “no” is hard, try saying “later” instead.

“Later” is not as hard to say as “no”. It is not so final. It offers hope. It feels a little better.

However, “later” allows you to focus on the most important things. It helps you put off the smaller ideas and prioritize those with the biggest impact. You can use “later” to limit how many things the team is working on.

Oh, and the best thing about “later”? If you continually say “later” to the same idea, the “later” becomes a soft “no”. You never actually work on it. You stay focused on the big ideas, but you never had to say “no”.

If you are someone who likes to say “yes” to everything, try out “later”. See if it can clarify and prioritize what you are working on.

Good luck and don’t wait till later to try it out...


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