One reason people often feel overwhelmed at home and at work is their inability to say no. Part of this is well-planned-out socialization that is designed to create amazing worker bees in society, but in reality, all this does is cause people to do more than they need to and become overwhelmed with life. You really can (and probably should) say no more than you do. Here’s how.

First, ask yourself three questions:

1. Does it align with my values?

2. Do I really have the time?

3. Do I really want to do it?

If any of these questions is no, then you should simply say no. It doesn’t have to be no on all three counts. It can just be no because you don’t want to say yes. However, often, there are other reasons.

No Reason Needed

You don’t have to give any reason at all. You can just say no. No is a full and complete sentence by itself. If you do want to give a reason, then you can, but it’s not necessary to do it. Here are a few “no sentences” that you can use if you want to.

> “Oh, thank you for asking, but there is no way I can make it work right now.”

> “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that because it goes against my religious world view, but thanks for asking.”

> “Thank you for asking, but I am not the right person for this job. Have you thought of asking Amy, this is really in her wheelhouse?”

> “Not right now. I already have priorities scheduled for that day and time. Thank you.”

> “I can’t do that, but if you can do this, then I can do it this way at this time.”

Practice saying these sentences and add some of your own that you can use. You probably already have some experience with being asked to do things. You may have said yes when you wish you said no. Practice saying no for the next time.

Let Go of Guilt

Remember that your upbringing may have caused you to feel bad when you say no. It’s just natural because when you were two every time you tried to touch that pretty vase, Momma said “NO!” and you may associate no with something terrible. It happens to all of us. However, like Momma had to say no to you for a good reason, you can say no to anyone about anything without feeling guilty.

If you say no in a respectful way, there is never a reason to feel bad about it. You must protect your time because it’s precious. Do things you really believe in, that you have time for doing, and that you really want to do.

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