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Need to feel more in charge your time, energy, to do list, choices – your life?  If so, learning to say no is a skill that could prove helpful.

Saying ‘no’ can feel hard to do, especially if you’re used to being the go-to-person for everything.  So, at first, you’re bound to choke on the words, or feel anxious.  Don’t worry.  Persevere and speak the word.  Say no and watch the world NOT fall apart.

People who count on you to say yes, might be taken aback, but they’ll get over it.

Here are some ways to politely say no…rules for the road, so to speak.  You can say:

  1. No, using a respectful tone, plain and simple.  But, that may be hard in the early stages…feel too uncomfortable.  So, soften your message with:
  2. No, I won’t be able to do it now.  I can get to it [and offer a realistic date/time]
  3. Thanks for asking. I won’t be able to join you.  I’m over-committed.
  4. No.  Sorry.  I won’t be able to do that this time.
  5. No, I’m not the one to do that.  Or, I’ve given up doing that.  Hope you find a resource.
  6. No, thanks.  I appreciate your asking.

Give up on trying to fit every single request and possible task into your schedule.  You can’t do it, never could, never will.

You always have to say no to something, so  look at it this way, make your no a conscious choice.  If it’s not high-value, directly relevant to your goals, projects and priorities, say no.  If it’s something some else can do or could learn to do, say no, and delegate it.

No is a simple and powerful word that can transform your life – at work and at home – enabling you to live better now.


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