Post Updated on August 31, 2020
Have you ever agreed to do something even when you actually wanted to say no? We’ve all been there, especially those of us who are people pleasers by nature. We say yes to every request and invite then end up wondering why we feel so burnt out at the end of the day. But why the heck are we agreeing to things that we don’t want to do?
Sometimes we say yes because we feel guilty about saying no. We don’t want to inconvenience another person even if it’s inconvenient to us. We also say yes because we want to look busy and productive. There’s so much pressure to do literally everything these days, and we want to feel like our lives are filled with meaningful activities.
The problem with saying yes? We end up doing everything except meaningful activities.
When we keep saying yes, we no longer have time to do the things that we want to do. Instead, we’re just doing what other people want us to do. I think we need to take back our time and get more mindful about what we say yes to. How do we do this? Keep on reading because today I’m sharing five tips to help you say no and avoid over-committing yourself!
How to stop over-committing yourself
01 / Listen to your inner voice
If you feel a pang of hesitation about making a decision, it might be a smart idea to listen to it. Your gut instinct is usually right about whether you should say yes or no to something. I get daily collaboration requests from people who read my blog which is so flattering, but it’s impossible for me to say yes to everyone. By listening to that little voice inside me, I know almost immediately whether to say yes or no to someone these days.
Ask yourself if the opportunity or request is going to be valuable. Ask yourself if you are going to be able to give it your full attention and make it worthwhile for the other people involved. If the answer is no, let this one go.
02 / Put your needs first
Yes, I KNOW it sounds selfish. Most of us struggle to believe that putting our needs first isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But in order to use your time in a productive and meaningful way, you need to be comfortable turning down opportunities and requests because your well-being depends on it.
My well-being is something I prioritize above all else because I know I’ll suffer the consequences (and so will everyone else) if I don’t. If something is going to disrupt my routine, cause me unnecessary stress, or make me overly anxious, I’m going to say no.
Related: The Mind, Body, Soul Balance Guide
03 / Stand your ground
If you’re in a situation where you’re asked to do something and you’re not comfortable doing it, stand your ground and tell that person why. Maybe it’s not in your job description, it makes you feel used, or there’s someone better for the job. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but constructively explain why this doesn’t feel right to you and stand up for your right to say no.
If you continually say yes to people even when you want to say no, you’re inviting them to keep doing it (and you better believe they WILL do it). People love to take advantage of others even if they don’t realize they’re doing it, so make sure you know what you will and will not tolerate.
04 / Be mindful with your time
In college, I was totally the person who took on way too much. I rarely had a free moment in my schedule, and I think I did that because I was either afraid of looking like a slacker or because I didn’t know what to do with my downtime. Maybe if I didn’t have anything to do, I would start to think about the deep meaning of life and have to actually deal with the tough things. Yikes, right?
I totally get that desire to fill your schedule so that you can do ALL. THE. THINGS, but I think it’s more important that we look at our schedules from a qualitative rather than quantitative perspective. Ask yourself what you want on your schedule. What really deserves your time? What is going to give you energy rather than drain you? If something is potentially going to take away from the things that are important to you, say no.
05 / Prioritize self-care time
It’s so important for us to understand the benefits of downtime and relaxation, instead of feeling like we need to do something *productive* all the time. Just because you have a blank space in your schedule does not mean that you are not being unproductive or wasting your time. It’s so important to have downtime in order for you to actually give the most of yourself that you can to the world.
I could potentially spend every waking hour working (because I love what I do), but I know that in my heart I need to take time to recuperate, recenter, and refocus. That way, I can do better work and make a bigger impact with the people I work with. Make sure you’re adding self-care into your schedule and not letting anything take away from that time.
[Tweet “5 ways to say no without feeling guilty about it”]