Box of Crayons Blog


Five Things You Can Say No to Right Now

I’m generally an accommodating person, so saying no hasn’t always been my strong suit. It’s all too easy to shove another yes into the bag of our overcommitted lives, trusting that in a Harry Potter magical sort of way it will somehow all work itself out.

But the fact is we can’t say yes to everything. It’s been a real objective of mine to find ways to say no, in order to make room for another yes in my life. You can’t always rely on willpower — sometimes you need to build up your defences. One of the best ways is to change your environment to one that allows you to do just that. For instance, if you don’t want to eat ice cream anymore, don’t keep any in the house. Essentially, you’re changing your behaviour.

Sometimes it’s hard to say no, but other times it’s a bit easier. Here are five things you can start saying no to immediately that can help alter your environment, change your behaviour and have a positive impact on the way you live.

1. Say No to Draining Relationships

Recognize that not all people nourish you. Some will drain your energy, and there is no room for those kind of soul-sucking relationships. You know the support system you have and who lights you up. Keep those people close and let the others go.


2. Say No to Being Perfect

Not everything needs to be done with excellence. Oftentimes, being adequate is just fine, if not even better than fine. It’s stressful always trying to be perfect and, quite frankly, it’s just not worth it. Accept that perfection is not always needed for success.


3. Say No to Too Much Email

Email itself is not work. It should be seen as a means to an end, a way to communicate. Don’t get trampled by the email beast! Use it to your advantage, and don’t let it get the better of you. Tame the beast.


4. Say No to Feeling Like You’re “Good Busy”

Do you catch yourself telling people you’re very busy, only to follow that up with “But it’s a good busy”? Being busy does not equate to success. It likely means that you’re overcommitted and overwhelmed, or worse yet, that you haven’t figured out what really matters. Say no more often and yes more slowly.


5. Say No to Being So Serious About It All

Remember to have fun. Say no to feeling like you need to be serious 100% of the time. There’s a time and a place for seriousness, of course, but there should always be time for fun too. Don’t forget to have fun.

Stop the rush to action. Say no when it means you can better define a yes. Ask yourself what matters and decide what doesn’t.

9 Responses to Five Things You Can Say No to Right Now

  • Dennis M

    Great list and a crisp clarity on their meaning. I’m going to keep this handy as a reminder. Thanks, Michael.

  • Tim K

    This fits how I am changing my focus. Saying “No” is tough when you have said “Yes” for so long. It is becoming easier!! Many Thanks Michael

  • Barry Vincent

    Thanks Michael for these great points. I’ve just got home from a real soul sucking session with supposed mates. But seriously, all I was aiming for was the perfect pint.Anyway I felt it important to send this message before I get back to my busy schedule. But it’s a good busy schedule, seriously! 😂

  • Valeri Hall Little

    Sometimes all you need is someone to give you permission to say NO. Thank you for doing just that!

  • Allison

    You are inspirational. Although probably most of us who read this are managers with loads of experience it’s amazing when someone points out the obvious and gives us ‘permission’ to be human also!
    Thank you

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