The difference between calm and productive or stressful and angry life is the ability to say no. Saying no decides on what kind of work will you do, what kind of company you will work for, and what kind of schedule you will have, etc.

However, saying no might not be pleasing for some people. You may fill uncomfortable because you don’t want to offend and let someone down or make her/him think you are not capable of handling some specific work. Or you may just feel that you miss future opportunities.

Although in reality while you never say no you raise the possibilities you are afraid of.

Here are several strategies enumerated, which will make saying no easier for you:


Ask yourself: “Is this the right investment of my time?”- In view of your schedule, it will be really easy to find out whether you can do additional work or not.

For example, let’s say your voluntary presence at the meeting was asked by your boss, which will take your 4-6 hours. This is a good investment but is not suitable for your personal interests or career development objectives. 

 Polite rejection phrase to your boss might be: 

“Thank you for your offer. I really appreciate your initiative to engage me in this really meaningful meeting. But I have to say no, as I have a lot of duties I cannot engage in additional initiatives. Thanks for understanding”

 Saying no to the duties which are not suitable for your priorities, may make you feel a little discomfort, but finally, you will save your time and take care of your mental health.

Oriented on other people

Some people have many more duties than they are possible to do in a specific period of time. This refers especially to the people who try to help others until they complete their tasks. To break this cycle you need to say no!

For example, when someone asks you to do something, when it is not your direct obligation, it’s natural to say no. But if you have always agreed on everything before, you will have to make others grow out asking everything from you.

 Your answer might sound like this: 

“I’m not an expert in this field. I will send you the contact information of John and I’m sure he will be happy to help you.”

 “As a rule, the meeting organizer writes a report for the presentation.”

“I think our intern can order launch for tomorrow. I will redirect your request to him.”


Sometimes there are tasks, which are asked to do immediately. However, you should define if there is given enough time to do this task. You can even suggest an alternative deadline which will be more precise. One or two days’ change will avoid your overtime work and additional stress.

Your phrase might sound like: 

 “I will help you with pleasure but today is fully burdened with different duties, including tasks assigned by the boss, for customers, etc. I can handle this due to Friday.”

This kind of answer might irritate or offend someone but in the long term, this will bring the best for you.

Set up boundaries. The best technique to do this is putting your phone away, don’t answer emails in overtime. 

 But if you still have to answer that email you can send this kind of message: 

 “Hello Andy, I wanted you to know that I’ve seen your email. Right now I’m not in the office when I will be there I will handle this without any delay.”

It’s not easy to say no. But it’s worth trying. And the most important thing while saying no is urgency- how fast is your feedback on the proposal. Don’t delay it. This can be more painful. 

Last but not least be confident! Don’t make it look like an apology. Say and do what you need to and continue like this. Remember, while saying no you say yes to important things for your life.

See also: The Secret to Success – Chapter 1

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