Productivity And The Fear of Saying “NO”

“Why do I keep saying yes, over-committing myself, and feeling overwhelmed as a result?”  You’re wondering right now. You are, aren’t...

Productivity And The Fear of Saying “NO”

“Why do I keep saying yes, over-committing myself, and feeling overwhelmed as a result?” 

You’re wondering right now. You are, aren’t you? When was the last time you said “no” to an opportunity, ask or time-consuming project? “How do I even say no!?”, you might be wondering. 

Trust me, it IS possible. 

We don’t say no because it makes us feel bad. We feel guilty, worried. “What will people think of me?” How many times have you been asked to do something you REALLY didn’t want to do, but still said “yes”? It happened to me so many times.

In a way, everyone prefers to say “yes”. 

When someone asks us for something we don’t want to disappoint. We’ve been raised (especially as women) to listen to other people’s needs. We’re told that saying “no” might burn bridges, or that it might jeopardize a relationship. If someone is willing to disconnect and ignore you when you say “no” to them, perhaps they needed that “no” the most…

The truth is: saying “yes” is the easy, people-pleaser response. But it’s not always the best response. At least it’s not the best one for you, not anymore. 

After all, there must be a good reason why you’re reading this. You might be a perfectionist, have high standards, tend to people-please. I’m here to tell you, you shouldn’t do this at the expense of your time, energy and sanity. Chronic fatigue is real and over-working and over-exerting yourself can lead to under-performance in all areas of your life. 

This is not the way to more – or sustainable – productivity…

Prioritize Yourself

You can’t control what other people think and feel but you can be in charge of yourself. 

When you have an overwhelming list of to-dos – where do you even start? Trust me, I was there, and I did a lot of trial and error to find tools, tips and tricks that actually work! Whether in life, career, or business. I left the corporate world to pursue a more soulfully productive way of living – I followed my true voice because it grew too loud too ignore. 

Uncovering what is sabotaging  your productivity is unique to you (and that’s where I come in). It’s not just about the work anymore, it’s about meaningful and joyful work. It’s about prioritizing the right things, and not just any things. It’s about addressing habits that no longer serve you, to make space in your life for what really matters.

Now let’s get back to saying “no”. 

Saying “no” can feel spooky or weird. It may or may not result in hurt feelings. But every time you say “yes” when you *really* want to say “no”, you’re actually saying “no” to yourself. The busier you are with other people’s requests means less time for yourself. At first it might seem like you’re helping others, doing your job or being a team player, but there’s a difference between doing good, and overworking just because you think you have to. 

That’s where you need to differentiate and learn to say “no”. 

Saying “NO”

“Let me get back to you on that.”
“It’s not a good time for me right now.” 
“I have a lot on my plate right now, I’m gonna have to pass.” 

Women are balancing A LOT. When you decide to work overtime, you’re saying “no” to a social life, hobbies, passions, relationships. 

Sometimes, when we get into a cycle of saying “yes” all the time, we are blindsided by the fact we’re saying “yes” to unimportant activities. Granted, some of those activities might be important to others. That doesn’t make them valuable to you. We internalize the idea that by saying “yes”, those requests are important to us as well. When in reality it’s not the request that’s important, but rather the idea that we’re doing something, which in turn makes us believe we’re being productive. (But why, then, aren’t you moving forward on your own dreams?!)

That’s a problem.

By saying “yes” to other people, you’re losing touch with your own needs. With your purpose. It might feel good for a while to be appreciated for your time, energy and talents. But how sustainable is it for you to say “yes” to everybody all the time? The fact is: you will eventually burn out. 

Aim for the Right Target

At work things can get even trickier. If you’re giving out “yesses” too easily, you might end up sacrificing your own ideas, and projects to pursue someone else’s. Is that going to work out for you in the long run? Probably not. By fulfilling someone else’s vision, you’re following someone else’s breadcrumbs. Essentially, you’re going to end up at the wrong house. I know, because I’ve been in front of an ugly front door many times!

Always consider how you invest your time and your energy. Whether that’s leading towards a goal or dream you have, or away from the ones you don’t want to take part in. This way, you’ll have time to partake in opportunities that align more closely to YOUR goals. The more you do this, the more those opportunities will present themselves – it’s like magick, believe me! 

Say “no” to following the breadcrumbs. Say “no” to relationships that are no longer working. If there isn’t an element of authenticity, or reciprocity, or if you don’t feel deeply connected to giving to someone else, you need to practice the art of saying “no”. 

Did you know? Saying “no” is also a huge productivity hack. 

I’m in the business of getting #SoulfulProductivity to as many multi-talented creatives as possible (psst that includes you!). Once you start believing that it’s okay to say “no” and how to turn down asks politely, you’ll free up so much time to rest, recuperate and realign to your inner voice, your intuition and where you need to be going. 

After all, we could all use less work, and shorter to do-lists, couldn’t we?

Reclaim Your Time

Time is our most precious resource. We can never get it back. How we spend our time can often feel like a loss, especially when our heart wasn’t fully into it. We don’t want to *waste* time. But what are we really doing, when we’re spending it on other people’s wishes? That’s not to say we can never oblige and help, only that we should do it with care and consideration.

As a professional coach for many years, my clients come to me because they don’t want to make mistakes lose time. What’s the next step? What do I do? How do I reclaim my time? How do I achieve my dreams? Those are some of the common questions I get asked when we start working together. 

Part of it is #SoulfulProductivity – how do you get productive without feeling like you’re constantly running out of time and energy? A slice of that pie is learning to say “no”. And knowing that it’s okay. Would you rather say “yes” and be unhappy? Or “no” and be fulfilled? It’s up to you…

Part of it is finding the courage to stand up for yourself. In the end, if you’re not saying “yes” to yourself you’re saying it to someone else’s dreams and projects. In the end, this will lead nowhere.

Eventually it all comes down to reclaiming what is rightfully yours: your “yesses”, your energy, and your time.

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It all starts with You

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