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Saying No

There is one small and simple thing we can do to change and improve our efficiency and that is learning how to say NO more often.

Even though it is a small change it is a difficult one as it is often linked to our emotional triggers which are deeply embedded in the oldest part of our brain. As children we were programmed to understand that saying no was often associated with punishment.

Pushing though our fears of saying no is probably the most self affirming thing we can do for ourselves and will bring about dramatic increases in productivity and well being.

Here are some reminders that might be worth keeping somewhere that you can view daily

Prioritise your daily  actions and complete the important ones first. This means important to you!

“I’m sorry.  That’s not a priority for me right now.”

“I can’t help you on this now, but I can get to it next week.  Would that be okay?”

“I have made so many commitments to others, it would be unfair to them and you if I took on anything more at this point.”

Prioritise with agreement

“Sure I can help you with your request as long as we both agree and understand that the item I agreed to do for you yesterday is going to have to wait.”

“I’m sure we’re close enough that when I say ‘no’ you’ll understand it’s for a good reason.”


“I have so much on my plate now I don’t know when I can get to it.  But I do know someone over here who can help you now.”

“Before I take this on for you, let me show you a few things so that you might be able to do it yourself.”

“If I can’t give you a ride to the school dance on Friday, how else would you get there safely?”

“Before I take this over from you, what do you think we ought to do about it?”


“I don’t know how soon I can help you on this, but I will get back to you as soon as I am free to help you.”

“Now that’s the type of thing I would love to help you on if only I had the time.”

Planning/resources – time expectation

“I would like to help you out on this but you understand I don’t have the resources available to do the right job for you.”

Make a simple decision


And as you speak, smile!

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