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6 ways to say no without feeling guilty

Updated: Apr 21

Can you remember a time when you have said yes to something when secretly you wanted to say no?


Are you at a point where you are resenting the workload and weight of responsibility that appears on your shoulders and you would like some clearer boundaries in place.

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It's not easy to do. Asking for support, saying no and setting clear boundaries shows bravery and courage and it protects you from spreading yourself too thinly and experiencing burnout.

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If saying NO is something that you are practicing then here are 6 ideas to help you ditch the guilt and better ring-fence your precious energy


1. Know your boundaries


Be really clear about your non negotiables and what you are willing

and unwilling to say NO to.


2. Take your time to respond


Avoid feeling pressurised to reply straight away, take your time and consider your position before you give a response.


It is ok to ask for a reasonable time to consider your response but be aware of taking too long and procrastinating.


3. Avoid being vague


Ensure that your NO is a NO and you haven't left the door half open. 'I'm not sure' 'perhaps' and 'I might be able to' are vague and unclear to the other person.


4. Be gracious


Thank the person for thinking of you and remain kind.


Say no to the task but yes to the person e.g I'd love to help you but I don't have time for that task right now.


5. Start small


Practice saying NO to small tasks every day and build up your capability for when the big challenges emerge.


6. Avoid over explaining


and making up fake explanations, or give one out of pressure.


A simple no is enough.



For more ideas to help you develop personally and professionally read these:


5 ways to positively frame your career break


10 essential tips to have a successful return after maternity leave


How to set healthy boundaries as a working parent that really work


9 top tips to successfully negotiate work flexibility



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