Want to Better Manage Your Time? Learn How to Say No

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Want to Better Manage Your Time? Learn How to Say No Are you tired of having an overbooked schedule?

Do you want to have more personal time for yourself?

There are only so many hours in a day, so it’s important you protect your schedule as if it were gold.

In this post, I offer a friendly reminder that saying “no” is one of the most powerful time management tools you can use.

How exactly do you say “no?”

It’s easy.

Someone asks you a question such as, “Do you have time this evening to help out with the planning for the spring carnival?”

You check your schedule, see that it is booked, and reply, “No, I do not have time this evening.”

Ta-da! It really is as easy as that.

No waffling, no doubting, and no mixed messages.

Now, some people may think saying “no” is a bad thing. I want to remind you that it isn’t. At any decision-making point or junction in your life, you always have two choices: yes or no.

Whether you choose to say “yes” or “no” is completely up to you. Choosing one way versus the other doesn’t make you a better or worse person for it.

In fact, the more you say “no” to those functions you really don’t want to attend, or like, you’ll find that you’ll have more and more time in your schedule for yourself. What’s more, you’ll feel a whole lot better about your decision than if you begrudgingly said “yes.”

Are you ready to say “no” to a few things in your life? Here’s a simple three-step process to help you stay on the straight and narrow:

Say “no.”

It sounds simple, and it is. All you have to do is say “no.” Really! If you want to be more lengthy in your response, you can say “no” and clarify that you understood what was being asked of you. For example, your conversation might go something like this:

Acquaintance: “Can you come to my hairstylist’s fiancee’s brother’s birthday party this Friday?”

You: “Thanks, but no, I cannot come to his birthday party on Friday.”

That’s it.


Offer to schedule something in the near future.

Now, let’s say you actually do want to contribute to or join in whatever is being asked of you, whether it’s a meeting, appointment, event, social function, or what have you.

You may be unable to do something right now, or at the requested time, but why not schedule something for the future? That’s what calendars and schedules are for!

Offer a couple of dates and times in the near future and make an appointment.

Stick by your decision.

Don’t feel the least bit guilty for making your decision. It’s your decision. You have every right to say what should, and should not, take place in your schedule.

Avoid floundering or changing your mind. The only way to reap the benefits of saying “no” is that you hold fast to your decision.

If you really need a bit of motivation to stick to it, remember this: saying “no” to others means you are saying “yes” to yourself, your schedule and goals.

How about you? When was the last time you said “no” to a calendar invite? Did things turn out as badly or as poorly as you imagined they would be, or did they turn out for the better for you and your well-being? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.