The Art of Saying ‘NO’ and getting your life back!

The Art of Saying NO


I’ve written about my inability to say ‘no’ on a number of occasions here on AMC. Today I’m sharing a few of the methods that are helping me keep on track in the saying ‘NO’ department which has me focused and more productive in the long run.


Fear of missing out (FOMO) with some of the invites and events I’m turning down hasn’t really come into play… although there was this one overseas travel gig (sob). There’s also the fact that the invites after a year of saying ‘no’ aren’t hitting the inbox like they use to be but for the most part (that keeping myself sane and a top priority part of me) means I’m more than AOK with this.


The Art of Saying ‘NO’




A cliché I know but if you aren’t valuing your time and putting a dollar figure on it, you can lose sight of the big picture. Once you put a value on your time, it makes it easier to say ‘no’ to something that just isn’t worth your time or energy.


Taking on the 12 month Business Diploma with Business Mamas is certainly helping me in this regard. I’ve been able to put a realistic dollar value on my time, which has me a whole lot stricter when it comes to what I’m saying ‘YES’ to these days. I’m also finding it easier to identify if an opportunity really is worth casing.


Saying ‘NO’ more often, means I’m over half way through my course with Business Mamas and very close to launching my new business. While I might be more selective with saying ‘YES’ it doesn’t mean I’m missing out on too much. I just have more time for the things that are important to me and apart from that overseas trip (which really would have put tremendous stress on my family), I have no regrets so far.


One thing I’m seriously thinking about saying a big fat “YES” to, is the St. George Kick Start initiative. With $25k up for grabs and a chance to pitch your start up idea at TEDX Sydney, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Even if the idea of pitching at TEDX Sydney and finally sharing my new business with a wider community scares the life out of me.


It’s the online business course through Business Mamas that has given me the confidence in my start up, as well as in myself, to push forward. Knowing the course is helping me build a firm foundation, with a kick ass business plan, not to mention an impressive five year plan of attack.


While I sometimes feel like I’ve put the brakes on moving full steam ahead for 12 months with the new business, while I complete the course, I’m also not diving in the deep end fully clothed with a sink or hopefully swim approach (which is how I tend to approach things). It is this new and improved approach that will have my business starting on the right foot and I can’t wait to share more details.


You can read more about my Business Mama journey here.


Agent Mystery Case Business Mamas Ambassador






Even after a year of actively saying ‘NO’, I still have times when I fall back into my old keep everyone happy, take too much on ways. It’s at these times that I like to turn to a few of my online friends for inspiration and you can read my Top 5 go-to places for inspiration here.


I’m also adding another handy resource to my list in the way of Kelly Exeter’s about to be released new book Practical Perfection. A short and sweet, super easy read for those highly-driven people like myself that constantly find themselves overwhelmed and lacking balance in their life.


  • If you’ve ever been told “You’re too hard on yourself” …
  • If you’re especially prone to overwhelm and burnout …
  • If your perfectionist tendencies are holding you back from getting the most out of life …


Then Practical Perfection was written for you… although, I swear it was actually written for me.


The official release date for Practical Perfection is February 29 but there are some fabulous bonuses available here for anyone who pre-orders the paperback before Friday February 26.



Kelly Exeter's Practical Perfection






I don’t know about you but when I first started saying ‘NO’, I felt like I needed to justify why. These days I have a couple of standard lines or rules of approach, to keep things short and sweet, so we can all move on and get back to being productive quickly.


1. Would love to help but I’m already over-committed.

2. It’s me not you! I’m fully booked with urgent projects on the go and not able to take on any new clients/work right now.


No apologies, no long winded excuses and no maybe baby if it is definitely something I don’t want to be involved with because that just prolongs the inevitable and takes up valuable time and remember my first point above… time is money!


While I sometimes try and have a list of people and businesses that I can offer up as a substitute, I find this also ends up being more work for me and sometimes it is best to just say ‘NO’ and quickly move on.





I have three daughters. At one point, many moons ago, they were 3 under 3 years of age. The youngest was 10 weeks premature. It was a busy and exhausting time in my life.


When they were little a ‘NO’ from mum meant just that… ‘NO’. No explanation or justification needed. Rightly or wrongly, I just didn’t have time to justify myself. I preferred to move on quickly and get back to creating a FUN, healthy and hygienic environment for them.


While my friends were all taking the long winded explanations approach with their little ones and basically avoiding the ‘NO’ word altogether by rearranging their words, I couldn’t see the point of banning the word altogether?


Of course these days with three teens in the house (my baby turns 15 today, my eldest turns 18 in April), a ‘NO’ leads the way to some interesting debates. It’s exhausting which leaves me contemplating if ‘YES’ isn’t initially the easiest way out and a way to keep the peace. Which is basically where I believe I ran into trouble with the rest of the world. That and trying to please everyone.


I have no qualms about saying ‘NO’ to my girls, so why is it so hard and why do I feel compelled to justify my ‘NO’ to everyone else?


I suppose the important thing to remember here is that while saying ‘YES’ initially might be easier, keeping everyone else happy in the process, you need to focus on the long term.


Taking too much on in the long run means you will no doubt end up letting everyone, including yourself down. It’s a no win situation and you only have yourself and your lack of ability to say ‘NO’ to blame! Trust me… been there… done that. Survived (just) to blog the tale and even have a new mantra, which is all about working smarter not harder



agent mystery case yes


How many times have you said ‘YES’ when you really wanted to say ‘NO’ this week/month/year?

Does saying ‘NO’ mean… NO more Mrs Nice Guy?

Do you practice the gentle art of saying ‘NO’ or something a little more brutal?

About Mystery Case 462 Articles
Follow Raychael aka Mystery Case on her mystery adventures 'casing' people, products and places to bring you her worth casing favourites.


  1. Can’t wait to hear more about the new business! I am a yes-person by default at work , and have to be very careful to set boundaries and limits around my time.

      • No, it means either they accept it and hooray! WORK! or they realise that my time is in fact valuable. (This is coming from someone who is still seen by some in her life as a SAHM with too much time on her hands.)

        • I remember those days and those people. I probably did the same thing back then. It’s awful when family and friends don’t value your time.

          Same could be said for some PR firms that see blogging as a free service. You could be six emails in, having wasted a lot of time and energy before they divulge they don’t actually have a budget.

  2. Sometimes I struggle to say no, but more often it’s a word I am comfortable using. I have to put myself and my family first, and if that means I have to say no, so be it. Great tips here, and BEAP, I love it!

    • Funnily enough, it has been a day of emails where I’m struggling with the no word. Someone wanting want they assume is just five minutes of my time for some free advice (it is never five minutes) and a few invites.

  3. I’m getting better at saying ‘no’. At the moment it’s a cyclical thing still – I commit to too much then shed stuff, but I’ve actually written down long term life goals now, against which I can measure the next NEW EXCITING OPPORTUNITY that I want to jump after 🙂

  4. Love your BEAP list Raychael. I have a similar test to work out whether I should say YES or NO. I’m saying no more than ever at the moment, as my business gets busier and I simply don’t have the time anymore – great reason, eh? 🙂

      • Thanks for your interest Raychael 🙂 I’m a business writer/copywriter @ The Professional Writer (not such a creative name, but it works well on Google!). I help businesses to attract and engage more customers. I work with all types of small business owners and I love it. Sometimes it can be hard work, but it’s always rewarding. I hear you about the Catholic upbringing/schooling – me too! How did they manage to indoctrinate us with lifelong guilt? 🙂

  5. Oh dude, I love saying no. Easiest sentence in the world. LOL. I figure that I must be some sort of sociopath as well, because I never feel guilty.

    • The guilt thing I’m convinced is due to my forced Catholic schooling and upbringing. The saying ‘yes’ and needing to please is possibly from that too… I may need therapy or some of your sociopath tendencies to rub off on me.

  6. In my previous life I could have done with the art of saying no! I worked full time, had a household to run, three kids and two dogs to organise, was on committee’s at three different schools (Secretary of one and bloody busy with it), did pilates once/week, bootcamp once/week, participated in working bees at schools and sausage sizzles … you name it. These days – nothing comes at me to say no to! It’s good but a bit sad too actually!

  7. Hubster is the one in our household who really struggles with saying no. It can be frustrating sometimes watching him run himself ragged trying to please other people, to the extent that sometimes he forgets who is most important (me!) LOL … I know your hubby works away, how does he feel about your ‘yes-man’ habits?!

    Visiting from #teamIBOT x

    • I have a pretty easy going and helpful around the house hubby, when he is around that is. He is off to Darwin this weekend with work. I’m also getting better at saying no to taking too much on, when I know he isn’t going to be around.

    • Some weeks BEAP is easier to implement than others.

      Great linky by the way. I’m trying to have the entire weekend blog free for the time being but will pop over occasionally and link up.

  8. I’m actually getting better at saying no, but I think I need to read the book because all three of those bullet-points sound like me! Visiting via the Lovin’ Life Linky 🙂

    Di from Max The Unicorn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.