11 Ways to Say No

"No" is a complete sentence.

Sometimes it seems like the only thing we are capable of saying ‘no’ to…is saying ‘no’.  Your time is valuable. Are you investing it, or throwing it away? Every time you say yes to something you don’t want, you are saying no to what you do want. Utilize these 11 ways to say no and take back control of your schedule :

  1. The “Just say” no:  Need I say more? You don’t have to either…
  2. The “I wish I could” no: This doesn’t necessarily need to be true, but it will help cushion the blow
  3. The “I’m sorry” no: Short and sweet and back to your day
  4. The “It’s not my decision” no: You don’t always have to take the heat
  5. The “Other priority” no: You don’t need to be specific, just be clear
  6. The “Referral” no: Identify another resource avenue
  7. The “I’m booked” no: Let your schedule take the responsibility for your decision
  8. The “Overwhelmed” no: Having too much on your plate is a perfectly valid reason not to commit to yet another request
  9. The “Delayed” no: Buy time to make a decision. Don’t take so long that you lead the person on
  10. The “Partial” no: Select what you can do, and commit only to that. Make sure you don’t commit to an inch and end up giving a mile
  11. The “Stealth” no: Return a call when you know you have a good chance of being greeted by a voicemail recording

(This list is adapted in part from Work Less, Make More—Stop Working So Hard and Create the Life You Really Want, by Jennifer White.)

Keep a tally of how many requests you get this week. What is your “no” ratio? Challenge yourself each week to improve your score until your schedule has consistent breathing room.  You need enough time left in your schedule to fit in a life!