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4 Tips for Saying No: Take Control of Your Time

Photo by Paul Armstrong

Have you ever said “yes” to something, only then to feel a tightness in the pit of your stomach, wishing you had said “No”? I have, and I’ve always disliked the feeling it left me. Because I wasn’t being truthful to myself. It’s like this: if I said no, I would feel guilty for having said no. If I said yes, going against what I really wanted, I would feel bad about the situation. Why do we stage ourselves for such lose-lose scenarios? Saying “yes” to things when it’s not what you really want can create a negative flow in your inner being. It can exhaust you mentally, waste your time and distract you from your purpose. Here are some tips that can help to bring some clarity and lighten up your mental ‘load’ when you want to say no:

  1. Recognize that you have a limited amount of time in a day. If you say yes to everything that comes your way, then it’ll be difficult to focus on your own priorities. You won’t have any time for yourself. Time is your most valuable resource.
  2. Understand your priorities. Don’t over complicate your life. Especially when you don’t need to. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Always make sure that you have enough time to yourself.
  3. Listen to your gut – Pay attention to what your inner voice is saying. If you don’t feel like it, don’t do it. Trust yourself. Be truthful to yourself.
  4. Ask yourself “Why?”when making the decision:
    1. “Am I doing this out of Guilt or Fear?” Guilt and fear are mind created emotions. They are formed by your perception of a situation, where you are looking through tainted glasses, unable to see clearly of what’s really there. Fear makes people irrational. ** Note: We will cover guilt and how to deal with them in a later article.
    2. “Am I doing this out of social pressure?”
    3. “Who am I doing this for?” – This is a great question to ask, and not an easy one to answer when our mind is clouded. Be truthful with yourself. If you are doing this for another person, you will find that your personal pride, sense of self worth, self respect, self-esteem will depend on the acceptance of another person.

Do share any tips you have that you’ve found helpful in staying true to yourself, and being honest with what you want with others.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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16 thoughts on 4 Tips for Saying No: Take Control of Your Time

  1. The phrase I always use is “It’s easier to say no when you’re saying yes to something even more important.” Being clear about our priorities is the most important thing. If we’re unclear on them it seems to me developing our mission statement is the best use of our time.

    Great topic!

  2. Abe

    I must admit I am one of the frequent victims of failing to say “NO” when I wanted to say “NO”. I paid dearly for it but I never learned. You were right. There is that unusual feeling of guilt when you would say NO to a friend. It is like showing rejection and that situation is not easy deal with.

    You tips are enlightening. I never thought of those things before. Now I have a weapon to be courageous enough to say NO when I need to.

  3. Hi Jean, I agree that being clear with our priorities is most important. I shall write a post on Mission Statements. Great idea! Thanks!

  4. Thank you Abe for your input!

  5. Hi Tina,

    Great topic. I believe that learning to say ‘No’ is one key factor to staying focus and also to leading a balanced life.

    I’ve seen friends and colleagues who get themselves into situations that they regret later, only because they did not have the courage or the knowledge to say ‘No’.

    This is a topic close to my heart. Coincidentally, I’m also writing a similar article about saying ‘No’. Will share that when done :)

  6. Lawrence, I can’t wait to read it when you are done. This topic is close to my heart as well. I’ve spent a lot of time learning to say no, especially under social pressures.

  7. This is an EXCELLENT article and perfect timing b/c not only does it complement my article that you responded to over at Alex Shalman’s blog, but it is a sign from the universe.

    I’m in a situation right now where I absolutely do not want to do something but I know others will be surprised if they learned my true feelings. This article was a sign from the universe to act on my true feelings, which is to say NO.

    Thanks!!

    Stephen

  8. Aww.. thank you so much Stephen. I’m glad to be of service. You know, there are no accidents in this Universe. :)

  9. JD

    One of the best ways I’ve learned to say no on the job is to frame it with a condition. For example, if you can take this off my plate, then I can do that. Or if I can get resources for this, then I can do that.

  10. I loved the post. :)

    For many years, I was suffering from this “When I say no, I fee guilty” ailment. Very recently, I realized: I am consciously responsible for everything in my life. I can do what my heart truly desires. I can CHOOSE to help someone out of genuine concern or give in to the sub conscious pattern of helping out of guilt.

    That helped me get over the pattern to a good extent.

    Thank you for reinforcing my belief.

  11. Littleramonfire

    I think it is also important to share with people that once the individual has decided to say “no”, that they should then shift their focus onto something that will be productive to them in that moment, to help them not to feel bad about saying no, and to feel good about themselves.

    I am one that has trouble saying “no”, as well, and this is only an idea I haven’t tried yet. I will try and let ya’ll know if it is helpful <3

    ~.:.~+Positivevibrations+~.:.~

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