Saying No Effective

Want To Be a More Effective Leader? Learn To Say “No”


Wouldn’t it be great if we could be a part of every opportunity that comes our way?

  • If we could sit down and have coffee or tea with whomever seems like a good business connection or just an interesting person?
  • It would be lovely to spend extra time with our families and friends so they know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we love them and want to be in their presence.
  • What about volunteering? Doesn’t it always seem like a good idea but there is always something urgent pulling us in another direction.
  • And those projects you dream of completing…when things settle down.

Saying No EffectiveThe reality is time is finite and there is only so much that you, personally, can do.

We’ve talked about delegating and that is a great way to check off some boxes on your list without having to do everything yourself. It’s an enormous stress relief and has more benefits than just saving you time and effort.

However, some things cannot be delegated and then you’re faced with a crucial decision:

  • Carve out time in your schedule and deal with being busier for a while
  • Latch onto something else quickly as a distraction so the need for a decisions passes, relieving your stress temporarily


  • Say “no for now” or “no, thank you” to the opportunity

Let’s face it, as leaders in our businesses we have to accept that “no” is a big part of what will ensure our effectiveness.

Having too many things on our plate dilutes our time and attention, and will kick in an adrenaline-fueled stress reaction that will rob us of precious energy and stamina.

Adrenaline is great for a sprint, but you’re in a marathon; you need to stay calm.

When you are organizing all the things you need to do and what you are considering adding to your plate try the following method:

1.       List out all the tasks and projects you must do personally.

These are tasks that cannot be delegated to another, like personally thanking your team for a job well done, working out, or celebrating your mother’s birthday.

Although some of these activities must be done by you and are cyclical, like business networking, decide how many hours a week or a month you will dedicate to that activity and hold to that boundary.

Block out a few more hours in the week for the unexpected to arise. If nothing comes up you can use this time on items in step 4.

Don’t forget to add rest and time for play! You know best how much you need and at what intervals. Respect your body and your mind and give it the recovery time it needs.

2.       Individually time-block all of these tasks on your calendar.

Give yourself more time to complete them than you expect the task will take. If it’s a project you are doing for the first time double the amount of time you expect it will take.

Don’t forget time for transition or checking your email.

3.       Next, make a list of the things that can be delegated…and delegate them.

Think of the tasks that you don’t love doing, tasks that you’re not very good at, or that someone else could do for you. Don’t be stingy, share the love.

Again, block out on your calendar the time it will take to delegate the task and follow-up on it. You may need to hire a contractor and that will take research, phone calls and conversations. Even a simple task will require some explanation and time for questions.

4.       Calendar Consideration

Is there any time left on your calendar? If there is, look at what is left on your list and do a gut-check. Think about your values and what is important to you.

If there is anything on the list that you feel like you “should” do but you have no desire to do it, cross it off. It’s not that important and will only drain you. Why waste your time and energy?

What would you LOVE to get done, once and for all? Add that to your calendar and commit that you will get it done at that time.

Anything that is left is a “no for now.” It’s just not the right time. You don’t have the time to dedicate and you will water down your effectiveness if you try to take it on.

Much like money, if we don’t budget our time and use it wisely we will overspend it on things that are not that important to us, or waste time pining for something we cannot currently afford.

Take the stress out of saying “no” by getting clear on what’s important to you and documenting it on your calendar!

Having a hard time saying “no” to certain requests or activities? Comment below and get some support.