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How to Stop Wasting Thousands of Hours A Year

Stashed in: Time, Business Advice, @msuster, NO., Life Hacks, Success

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I love the advice to SAY NO more:

As your company becomes more prominent, you’re only going to get more of everything. More people reaching out through LinkedIn, email, invitations to connect, to go to coffee, to ask for a favor. It’s death by paper cuts. Inevitably, a childhood acquaintance from 20 years ago who you can barely remember will ask you for introductions to all your influential friends at Facebook. This is when you have to say, “No.”

Saying no is so hard. It’s hard because you want to pay it forward. So many people have helped you. You want to do the same. But you have to draw the line somewhere, and there are ways to make it easier.

Try “No” templates — canned responses for all the common situations where you find yourself saying no. I first heard about the idea from entrepreneur and investor Mark Suster, and it’s saved me immeasurable time and anxiety. Here’s an example:

Hi Bill,

Great to hear from you. I hope all is well. Fortunately, my company is starting to take off, and I’m under extreme pressure to deliver against some ambitious goals. I go to a lot of social events, but unfortunately I won’t be able to connect right now.


This lets you put the time and attention you want into crafting a response. You just don’t have to do it every time. The most important thing is that you close the door to further communication. Do it nicely in a way that truthfully explains the situation, but don’t leave things open-ended.

When you have your batch of templates, you can say no to salespeople. Say no to investor meetings when you’re not raising money. Investors make a lot of introductions. You don’t have to take all of them. Board members make random requests. You don’t have to agree to all of them. Write a template for each of these cases, including messages on LinkedIn. Even that email from your long-lost friend looking for a meeting. Eventually, you’ll need it.

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