The Art of Saying N

One of the most powerful words in the English language is my least favorite word: No. I am someone that likes to hear the word, yes, to me I feel a sense of pride if people see things my way, if they join my cause, or follow my design style. But as someone who works on a church website, saying no could save you hours of work, prevent feature creep, or keep your website from straying from the church vision.

Prevent Feature Creep
This is main reason I say no most often. It is important to have goals for your website and a plan on how to execute. Feature creep is when someone, usually in a staff meeting, suggests something they would like to see on the website. This could be anything, flash games for the children’s ministry page, a shopping cart for the bookstore, videos of sermons, anything really.

Our job is to look at all these requests, review them against the goals of the website, and reject the ones that don’t fit into the plan. Now, this is not to say that you reject everything that comes your way, but rather be diligent in listening to requests, honestly appreciating feedback, and then taking your time to determine if this feature would be a fit.

Less Clutter, Less Mess
A great reason to say no more often is so your website doesn’t end up getting cluttered with widgets and stuff that has no business on your website! Too many times I have seen church websites that seem to try every every trend that comes their way, and it leaves your site looking like garbage.

Save Wasted Project Hours
Let’s face it, you only have so many hours per week to work on your website. If your a full time, on staff at a church, dedicated web designer, then you have 40 hours MAX.  If you’re a volunteer, forget it, there is no way you can take on all the requests that get handed to you, the only way is to say no. Saying no to requests that come in will free up more time for you to focus on what NEEDS to be done, rather than what would be nice to have.

What have you said yes to that you should have said no to?

I have said yes too many times to count. My most memorable incident happened about a year ago. I had an old friend who called me about a website for his church, they had one already built on WordPress, he wanted to see about building some additional functionality into the site. Rather than saying no, I wasn’t a WordPress developer yet, I told him I would help him out. The end result? Two months of trying to fix bugs in my PHP, delays in my freelance work, and clients getting upset. I over did it. Sometimes I need to say no more and yes less. How about you?

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