For each working person, the scarcest resource is your daily time.

You may feel like that you do not have enough hours in the day, only endless things to do, and you can always find more things waiting for you to do.

Of course, some of these things are not part of your job, such as other colleagues asking for your help or bosses making new demands.

How can we reasonably refuse them?

In fact, there has been a mature methodology for this matter since long ago.

Just by doing the following three steps, you can usually make yourself and the other person comfortable while refusing them.

Step 1: Listening.

It’s not simply hearing what the other person is saying. You have to literally stop what you’re doing, and carefully listen through what they say.

Even if your time is limited, it is best for you to do so.

The point is to let the other person see that you are willing to help, and let them understand that you already know their needs.

In this way, even if you eventually refuse them, they will understand that you are not available, instead of not willing to help.

In addition, this willing-to-help attitude is also a manifestation of leadership; if colleagues ask you for help, it shows that they think you are a reliable person.

In this case, choosing to listen can strengthen their goodwill and trust in you.

Step 2: Start with Conclusion when Refusing

There is a saying goes like “People tend to judge others by results, and themselves by motives.”

This principle can also be applied to daily conversations.

We all hope that other people will come to a conclusion quickly, but when we speak, we instinctively start from the beginning of the story.

This way of speaking is not good for communication, because the other person usually does not have so much patience to hear you finish your speaking, and by the time you come to the conclusion, their attention has long gone.

If you want to refuse somebody, just tell them NO, and then explain the reasons why.

Step 3: Provide an Alternative Solution

Maybe you really don’t have the time to listen to the other person's request. For example, you have to get off work on time that day and the work at hand is urgent.

In situations like this, don’t just tell the other person that you don’t have the time. Instead, you should give them a time when you would be available. For example, you may say “Sorry, I really don’t have the time right now. I have to get off work on time. Is it OK if we talk tomorrow morning?"

In addition, if you have finished listening to the other person’s needs and finally choose to refuse him, you can also recommend him a person whom you feel can help him.

In this way, although you refused him, he still can feel your support.

In a word, refusal is inevitable, but the way of refusal is optional.

An inappropriate refusal may cause great harm to your working life.

An artistic refusal, on the other hand, may lead you to some unexpected benefits.