2 min read

No: one of the most important words in business and I’ll tell you why. 

It’s late Friday evening. You’ve got 10 projects running, 4 reports to do for Monday morning, a packed weekend, and a client calls with a last minute job to deliver on Monday. What do you do? 

I would say NO. Why? I need to sleep at some point, and if I don’t, my clients’ businesses will still be running and I would be six feet under, figuratively or otherwise. Stretching yourself thin reduces the quality of your work, and in the long term, it might cost you some jobs. 

But, wouldn’t saying no cost you the client? Not necessarily. If it does, that client was never loyal to begin with and they’re not worthy of your quality of work. A loyal client with whom you have a great relationship with will understand that you really cannot do any more at that moment. 

Outsourcing can come in handy, but not having enough time to review it and make changes can not only cost you the client, but can also ruin your career/business. 

Imagine if I said yes.

I would go to work on Monday a complete mess. I would be unable to think, far less do any sort of risk management or damage control.  Anyone who runs a business, or has a job which entails you making decisions on behalf of a company, doesn’t sleep more than 5-6 hours a night during the week (and those are the lucky ones who get to sleep). My reports would be sloppy and disorganized, the job I did for the client would be in shambles (whether or not I outsourced it), and I would not be able to deliver anything on time that day. 

Some people would ask why if I took a weekend to get extra work done I would fall apart at the seams. Now, think about it, it’s not ONE weekend off.. it’s two weeks of running on empty. Remember, if you don’t get enough sleep during the week, and your weekends are all you have, then you’re in for a lousy couple of weeks. 

The same applies for teams. If you team is under pressure, don’t push them over the edge. If you even have to think about whether you can actually pull off the job, then you can’t. By thinking about it, you’re wondering what you would have to do to make the impossible happen, and who will have to work overtime. An overworked, under-slept team is the worst thing that can happen to you. 

Saying no does not mean that you’re a quitter, or weak or not hard working. In fact, it means that you’re smart enough to know when you have enough on your plate, and honest enough to admit you cannot handle another task. 

So, say NO every once in a while when you just can’t give 100% to the task.