I think we can all get better at learning how to say “no.” This month, I will give you a few tips on how to say “no,” and explain why this is a really important small habit to learn.
My mother-in-law would tell me, “Johnna, ‘no’ is a complete sentence,” meaning no explanation is needed, and it is OK to choose not to take on the world. Learning how to say “no” does not mean you should turn down everything or change who you are; it just means you will learn how to prioritize the most important things in your life – including yourself!
Here’s how you can learn to say “no”:
- Start today. The next time someone calls or emails you to ask for something, pause. Instead of a typical instant reaction, take some time to think about it. Do you truly have time for this additional task? Is it going to add to your life and happiness? Do you actually want to do it?
- If you decide you do have time to take on something else, schedule it now, don’t wait until you are down to the wire. Get the task on your calendar and dedicate some time and space.
- If you would prefer not take on the task but are still uncomfortable saying “no” (or can’t say “no” because it’s a household task), think about other options. Is there someone else who can step in? Can you share the responsibilities? This is especially helpful with your housemates. Stop packing your calendar and start allocating different tasks to different family members. Putting everything on a whiteboard can be very helpful when starting this at home.
Remind yourself learning to say “no” is a process that will take time and a little effort. Over time, you will get better at it and will feel more organized and less stressed.
Johnna Masterson is the owner of Inspired and Organized and a Central Park resident.