How to Beat the Overwhelm and Say No More Often

I’ve always been a people pleaser. I say yes even when I’m drowning in tasks and projects screaming for my attention. When I was getting ready to resign from my corporate job in 2017, I read Shanda Rhyme’s book Year of Yes and thought I had to say yes to every single opportunity and invitation that presented itself to me.

While saying yes to things that fulfill me can be a good thing, there is usually a blurry line between fulfillment and drainage. It took me a long time to learn that too much of anything is never good, especially overbooking yourself and your energy.

As a multi-passionate entrepreneur that usually says yes to too many things, I’m beginning to see the benefits of saying no more often. Like many things, it’s a skill that takes practice and consistency.

If you’re like me and struggle to turn down invitations, opportunities, and offers, you’ve got some work to do. It’s important to remember that saying yes to something means saying no to something else.

Time block your priorities

The book The One Thing has become one of my favorite books of all time. In the book, I learned about the importance of time blocking your most important tasks in advance to keep me from focusing on less-important to-dos. By time blocking your most important responsibilities in advance, you’ll be able to see your availability (and lack thereof) before you commit to something else.  

Delay the decision

If you’ve ever found yourself agreeing to something too soon and then regretting it hours later, you’re not alone. Saying yes without thoroughly thinking about my feelings, agenda, and prior commitments are one of my greatest weaknesses. Instead, I’m now asking for more information and time to think about the decision before I commit to something I might later regret.

Be honest

Making up excuses to get you out of the situation at hand will usually come back to you in the future. Instead, be honest and explain why you’re declining their offer. Whether it’s your overbooked schedule, an upcoming vacation, or because it’s something not aligned with your values, you need to speak up.