Saying "no" can be the hardest thing to do. However, if you constantly agree to take on new tasks or responsibilities requested by others and find you have no time for the things you want to do, learning how to say no is time management 101.
There are so many tools we can utilise to improve our time management. However the most overlooked option available to is the ability to say ‘no’ to other peoples demands.
We’ve all been there; day dreaming at a work meeting and then suddenly asked if we could take on a new task. Even if it’s the last thing we want to add to our already overflowing schedule, we don’t say no for fear of looking bad.
Or, we’re having a much needed lazy Sunday and get a call from one of our kids asking if we can pick them up. (Even though we already told them would have to make their own way home!!). But still, we don’t say no and be grudgingly look for the car keys.
Whether it be work, family or friends, there’s some sort of guilt we feel about saying no to requests from other people. Especially when we care about them – or their opinion of us!
But this guilt is nothing compared to the additional burden and potential burnout we may experience if we don’t learn time management 101 – How To Say “No”
The ultimate thing we can do as an act of self-love is to ensure we keep our time management balanced.
If you’re used to saying yes to everything – even when you don’t want to, starting to respond with a no will be hard. Not only hard to say, but also hard to hear from the people who always expect you to step up.
Your time is just as important as everyone else’s. Establishing boundaries about how you want to spend your time (time you will never get back), will enable you to:
- Ensure your needs and feelings are prioritised.
- Give you the ability to say yes to the thing ‘you’ actually want to do.
- Create healthy boundaries in all of your relationships.
- Address and detox relationships that do not serve you.
With all that said, implementing how to say no, without feeling guilt or judgement all comes down to using the best response for the request you have been asked.
Check out my ‘How to Say No’ responses below and use these simple and effective replies to start claiming back you time.
- I’m honoured to be considered, but don’t have the capacity right now.
- Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m focusing on XX
- Regrettably, I’m unable to take this on right now.
- Thanks for the offer, but I’m in the middle of XX
- I’m flattered you considered me, but unfortunately I’ll have to pass this time.
- No thank you, but it sounds lovely.
- Another time might work.
- I’m not sure I’m the best for it.
- Sorry, I’m not able to set aside the time needed.
- Unfortunately I won’t be able to dedicate the time I need to it.
- Thank you so much for asking. Can you keep me on your list for next year?
- It’s not feasible for me to take this on.
- Sorry, I’m not able to fit that in this week.
- My schedule is already full.
- No, thank you so much for reaching out to me though.
- Thank you for asking! I’d be interested in hearing more, but I can’t this month.
- I have a few things I need to take care of this week, so won’t be able to fit it in.
- It’s not feasible for me to take this on right now.
- I’ve got too much on my plate at the moment.
- Another time might work.
- I wish I could make it work, but right now I can’t.
- Unfortunately, it’s not a good time.
- I’m taking some time for myself right now. I’m sure you understand.
- Unfortunately not.
- Apologies, but I can’t make it.
- Unfortunately, I can’t make it work with my current commitments.
- Sorry, I need to leave some free time for myself.
- Thank you. I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed.
- I have other plans, but thank you!
- My plans are already set that weekend.
- It’s not possible with my schedule right now.
- I know this is important to you, but I can’t fit it in.
- Don’t think I can commit, if something changes I’ll let you know.
- I appreciate the offer, but I can’t fit it in right now.
- Thank you for the invitation, but I am completely booked up that week.
- You’re so kind to think of me, but I can’t.
- It sounds lovely, but I think I will pass this time.
- Sounds great, but I can’t commit right now.
- I’m really spread thin these days, I just can’t take it on right now.
- Sorry, I’m not taking on anything else right now.
- Sadly I have something else.
- No thanks, I have another commitment.
- Darn! Not able to fit it in.
- I’m learning to limit my commitments.
- No, sorry, that’s not really my thing.
- Some things have come up that need my attention.
- None of those dates work for me, but I would love to see you. Send me some more dates.
- No thank you, but that sounds fun, have a good time!
- Sounds tempting, but I have to pass.
- I’m trying to honour my family time right now, I can’t commit.
- I can’t commit to this last minute, can we plan something in a few weeks?
When saying no, you don’t have to go into detailed explanations that could open you up to be convinced to do the thing you’ve been asked. Keep it short and simple.
Remember, saying no to other people does not make you unkind, selfish or rude. The main purpose of learning how to say no, is to create space in your life to say yes to the things that YOU want to do.
Let me know in the comments below which excuse you will use in the future and what you plan to do with all the re-claimed time you have.