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The Power of Saying NO to Reduce Stress and Increase Productivity

1 minute Read

Power of NoAs a small business owner, your life is filled with people, ideas and projects all competing for attention. There’s no doubt that saying yes  has its advantages. But have you ever thought that you don’t have to accept every opportunity that comes your way? It may seem like filling your schedule with to-dos ensures that you’re getting enough done in a day. But having a bloated schedule doesn’t give you time to take care of yourself, leaving you more susceptible to burnout and stress-related conditions. Saying no allows you to take control of your calendar and use time to your advantage. It also frees up time for developing your own projects, finding new leads and possibly making room for something really big down the line.

4 Ways to Just Say No

  1. Define your priorities. For a business owner who’s overloaded with commitments, it’s almost a reflex to say yes to every single opportunity that comes your way. But taking the time to define your goals and priorities makes it easier to say no to invitations that may just be time-wasters. Next time you’re offered an invitation, take stock. Does it align with your top three business priorities? If not, it might be time to say no.
  1. Set expectations with your professional network, friends and family. There’s nothing wrong with letting your business associates know you’re bogged down for the next few weeks until reviews are over, or until you’ve completed your quarterly inventory. Whatever your highest priority is, keep it there.
  1. Be polite but firm. There’s a stigma that saying no casts you as someone who’s not interested in being part of the team. But saying no doesn’t make you a bad person—it just means you value your time. And that time is best spent building your business, however you see fit.
  1. Be honest. In business settings and your personal life, the truth will set you free. Don’ t make up excuses to get out of something, and don’t fabricate stories or other responsibilities. Lies often come back around to you, so just fess up and say you’re not interested. Most friends, family members and business associates will appreciate the honesty.

Now, the question remains: what do you do with all this extra time? It’s up to you, but we suggest taking care of yourself, first and foremost. Stress relief is one of the biggest benefits of clearing out your schedule, so make time for your family, getting exercise or getting a good night’s sleep. For more ideas on taking care of yourself, check out our blog.


Photo credit: Anna Shkolnaya/