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Balance your life by saying No!

by Kim Jacobs

Posted on October 13, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 13 at 2:43 PM

We have an unbelievable amount of things we are required to do on a daily basis, so when someone else tries to put one more thing on your plate it can throw your daily balance off.  The word “No” as small as it is, isn’t used as much as it needs to be from a balance perspective.  No, it is not a bad word.  We can say it and still show love to others. People cram more on your plate, because you allow it and they know you say yes to almost everything.  You have to get comfortable saying “No” sometimes.  Ask yourself, do you even want to do what is being asked of you?  Will your schedule really allow you to meet the request or not? By you taking on this task, will it impose too much on your family obligations?  Once you answer these questions honestly, you will know what you can or can’t add to your daily mix. The following tips will help you say no when appropriate without feeling guilty:

#1.  Get over the need to please everyone.  Stop being concerned that you will disappoint everybody.  People will make it just fine without you.  If for some unforeseen reason you couldn’t be around, you would be surprised how quickly people would move on and make it just fine without you.

#2.  No reason and No apology necessary.  When you say no to someone, you do not have to feel obligated to share the reason for your decision.  If you decide to share a reason that is a courtesy that you can extend if you desire, however, it is not necessary. Simply saying “No, I won’t be able to do that at this time” is more than appropriate.

#3.  Offer another option.  If you are not able to do what is being requested on the date of the request, offer another timeframe that would work better for you to do it.  For example, “I can’t watch her on Tuesday, but I could watch her on Saturday if you need my help then.”

#4.  Don’t crack under pressure.  If you can’t do something that someone is asking you to do, just say, “I am so sorry, I won’t be able to do that right now.” If someone doesn’t accept your answer the first time and they start to pressure you, just repeat your previous statement. “I won’t be to do that at this time.”  You can still be your kind and loving self, just reiterate that you can’t do what they are asking at that time. 

#5.  Take time to think about it.  Sometimes, it is really difficult for people to just say no in a firm manner.  If you are one of these people that have difficulty saying no right away, then feel free to say “Let me think about it and I will let you know by tomorrow.”  This will allow you the proper time to check your schedule and determine whether or not you can really do what you are being asked to do.  Make sure you do honor your word and respond in the timeframe that you stated. Whatever you do don’t elude that your answer will be yes, because if your final answer is a NO, then the person will be more disappointed.

#6.  Is this important to me? Analyze your current obligations and your overall priorities before making any new promises. Are you passionate about this project? If it is something you really want to do, because you feel so strongly about it, then you should do it.  If it doesn’t matter to you one way or the other, then use your time to do something else and say no.

#7.  Don’t fudge the truth. Be honest with people if you can’t do something. Don't fabricate stories just to get out of an obligation. I really believe that your true friends and family will appreciate the honesty.  They will also know that you are not trying to avoid helping them in their time of need.

#8.  Offer another person.  Sometimes we receive request to do things that we know we are not the right person for the request.  I recommend that you let them know that you are not able to meet the need that they have expressed; however, you have a person in mind that focuses on that area. You should contact the person you have in mind and share the contact information and the request with that person.  Never give someone’s contact information without their prior approval.  That puts them in an awkward position, especially if they don’t want to do it either.

Saying “NO” will not be easy if that isn’t what you do normally.  It will take time and practice, but you will feel more mental satisfaction knowing that you are not just voluntarily overcrowding your schedule. There is a sense of relief when you know that you have made a conscious decision about what you will and will not allow to make it on your to do list for that day.  Practice saying “No” in the mirror if that will help you when the actual time comes to say it for real.

You can watch our Telly Award Winning Television Talk Show, Daily Balance with Kim Jacobs, on PBS - WTVI every Saturday at 10:00 AM.  To learn more about Daily Balance with Kim Jacobs please visit You can also follow us on Facebook at Daily Balance with Kim Jacobs. If you would like to hear  more tips from me, you can see me as the Daily Balance Expert every Wednesday for a segment on Charlotte Today (WCNC – News Channel 36) between 11:00 AM -12:00 PM. Thank you for your continued support.