Master the Art of Saying No

I came across a very valuable article online today as stated below.


Did your summer fly right by? Where did the time go? If you’re like me, a better question might be, why wasn’t more of that time spent on doing the things that mattered more?!

It’s easy to get overscheduled, overcommitted, and overloaded. In our effort to please or help others, we say yes when we’d much rather say no.

Would you plan the book club retreat?
Why not.

Watch the neighbor’s kids this weekend?
Of course.

Take on an “extra-credit” project at work…?


…that’s due tomorrow?


Whatever it is, we often find ourselves wishing we’d said “no” instead of “no problem.” Such commitments sound great, but we can’t really do it all! cost us the energy and time we’d rather spend on our own passionate pursuits or on the people and activities that give us the most pleasure. And when we try, we can become tired, cranky, resentful, or all of the above.

Before diving head first into fall’s busy calendar, take a moment to practice saying no. It helps if you lose these three factors before finding your response.

Lose the Guilt.

When someone asks for your help and your first thoughts are, “You know, I really should do it,” you can bet there’s a thread of guilt underlying the circumstances.

Guilt arises whenever you respond out of obligation and not because it’s a request you sincerely want to fulfill. And where’s there’s guilt, regret usually follows in the form of, “Why, oh why did I ever agree to do this??!!” Recognize your true feelings before responding and you’ll be able to say no without the guilt or remorse.

“Urgent” is another guilt-ridden word. People who insist their requests are “urgent” are essentially transferring their feelings of stress or their inability to plan onto you, so why feel guilty turning down those so-called urgent requests? Remember, urgent is not the same as important. Only you can determine whether something is truly important enough to merit your time and resources.

Lose the Fear.

We often say yes because we’re afraid. We’re afraid to hurt someone’s feelings; afraid others will think we’re selfish unless we agree to the request; afraid to upset a friend or our workplace status. Before you respond to a request, ask yourself this: “What’s the worst that could happen if I say no?” Chances are, not much of anything. So ditch the fear and just say no.

Lose the Excuses.

There’s no need to fabricate reasons for turning down requests. A simple, “no thank you” should suffice. However, if you feel the need to supply an explanation as to why you can’t help/join/give, keep it short and direct, and just be honest:

“My schedule is really full at the moment, but I’m flattered you asked me.”
“I won’t be able to join you, but I hope you’ll have a great time.”

“Sounds like a good opportunity, but unfortunately I’m already committed to other projects.”

Ladies, we’ve only got so many hours in the day. Lose the compulsory “yes” and gain the freedom to live your life the way that will provide the most satisfaction and fulfillment. Because sometimes by saying no, you can say yes to what truly matters.



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