The Art of Saying No

Part of moving towards living a simpler life and making more room for the things that matter to you will involve learning when and how to say no.  This isn’t easy for everyone but is an essential skill if you want to clear the clutter and unnecessary from your life.  Here are some quick fire strategies that will help you in your quest to say no.

1)     Value Your Own Time

You have to value your own time before you can expect anyone else to.  Once you place a high value on your own time and capacity to take on extra work/appointments/responsibilities etc, knowing where and when to say no will become clearer and easier to do.

2)     Value Your Existing Commitments

You will already have existing commitments (appointments, work duties, family commitments, time for hobbies, things you have already said yes to etc).  Respect this list of commitments and try to ensure anything else you are taking on (saying yes to) fits in and doesn’t negatively impact these existing commitments.

 Don’t be afraid to reprioritise existing commitments where you really need to (or indeed want to if something exciting comes up) but take existing commitments seriously and try to avoid moving them as much as possible.

 3)     Saying No Doesn’t Make You a Bad Person

Pressure from others or internal pressure (self talk) can mean many of us are programmed to believe that saying no in some way makes us uncooperative or unsupportive.  However, recognising when and how to say no are key life skills that anyone that wants to live a productive and happy life needs to acquire.

4)     How You Say No Matters

Be clear and firm that you’re saying no but do so in a polite way and where possible, and if it helps, explain your decision (e.g. No, I can’t deal with this right now as I have other commitments to meet).

 5)     Don’t Change Your Mind

Once you’ve said no stand by your decision (unless there is a very good reason not to) and don’t be pressured out of your decision.   Let others know that when you say no you mean it.

6)     Where Possible Don’t Apologise

Don’t feel you have to apologise for saying no.  You’ve done nothing wrong other than identified that you either don’t want to say yes or don’t have the capacity to say yes.

7)     Recognise What You Want to Say Yes To

Value what is important to you and your own priorities.  Do you really want to accept that new invitation that has just come through the post or are you stuck in default yes mode?

This also means balancing between work and play so if one is impacting the other in a negative way too often something is amiss.  A balanced life means that we value both our work and play time.

I hope these strategies help or at least get you thinking about your own approach to saying no.  Make room for what’s important to you and say no to those things that interfere.