know what you’re saying no to

know what you’re saying no to

Every time you say YES to something.

You’re actually saying NO to something else.

But most people don’t know what they’re saying NO to.

So they end up saying YES to everything.

The lesson here — know your priorities!

Let’s take a simple example:

Say your top priority for today is planning an upcoming product launch. And you’ll need the majority of your free time to put it together.

You are clear on that priority, so when a sales rep taps you on the shoulder to request an updated piece of collateral, you can assess whether that request is more important than your launch plan.

It usually isn’t. And because you know your priorities you can easily provide context when you say you can’t work on their request right now.

Having that context makes saying no so much easier.

Expand that out across an entire week, month, or quarter, and setting priorities gets way more difficult.

Here are some things that have worked for me:

🎯 Set clear OKRs

Even if you’re not being asked to. Set your own quarterly OKRs and review them with your boss to get agreement on your top priorities.

📁 Align projects with your OKRs

OKRs help you set objectives, but not the specific work that will get you there. When you set OKRs, take time to also plan the projects that drive each one. When a new project comes your way ask "does this support my OKRs?"

📥 Maintain a prioritized list of internal requests

Internal requests are a guaranteed part of product marketing. Like death and taxes. Your ability to manage them gets a LOT easier when you already have a prioritized list (and a process for capturing new ones). Again, this lets you provide context when saying no.

📣 Socialize these things across your company

How can you expect people to respect your priorities when they have no idea what they are — or what product marketing even does. Share your OKRs, PMM Charter, prioritized request list, and current project roadmap often with the rest of your company.

For example, in the PMM Productivity Hub, I created an “Internal Wiki” page specifically for this. It acts as an internal landing page for product marketing, where your stakeholders can see the status of your projects, submit requests, and access existing collateral.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas on how to better set and communicate your priorities.

Let me know if I missed something that's worked well for you!