Simple steps for saying no

Being able to say no when you really mean it is vital to maintaining a healthy work and life balance; saying yes too much can impact your work, stress levels, schedule, emotional health, relationships, family, finances and even your reputation. Be very mindful of why you’re really being a “yes man” when you do it.

Saying yes too often can cause others to take advantage of your assistance and encourage them to always come to you for help (because you always do!). When you are able to say no, people often respect your boundaries and will save asking for meaningful requests. When the time comes that you say yes, people often appreciate it more.

Feeling guilty is wasted energy. Here are a few ways to say no with grace:

  1. Say you’ll “think about it” – at first. It will help others to consider alternatives and give you time to think it over.
  2. Choose your delivery – Use a genuine but firm tone and words like “I would love to, but I’m unable to…” or “Thanks for thinking of me but this time I’m unable to…”
  3. Be business-like about your feelings – Be calm and considered as you politely decline; it’s not uncaring or selfish to say no. Don’t feel you have to explain yourself either.
  4. Explain you have other commitments – I think it’s worse to rack and stack your schedule and risk being late, rushed or not on your game. Simply explain if you’re already committed and don’t be a martyr. They’ll just ask someone else and no harm will be done if you say no with enough advance warning.