Every one of us has given in to the persistent persuasion of a friend or an acquaintance before.

And it usually leaves a heavy, guilty feeling within us when we realise we have better things to do, but we have already accepted the invitation.

Sound familiar? Today, I’ll show you how to work around the question of whether to say yes or no…

As the winter has set in, I have found myself saying more no’s than yes’ to catch-ups, events, and even work demands. The power of saying “no” has really given me back my sanity and the ability to breathe and take a moment. Saying no means I can make more yes’ to myself, my personal health, and my family. Because of my decision, everyone in my family has been able to slow down the pace and spend more time together at home. As a busy person, I tend to be everywhere most of the time both for professional and personal affairs. This habit of mine has enabled me to transform into someone with a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

After changing this time-consuming habit of saying yes to anyone and anything, I was able to evolve from someone suffering from constant FOMO to a productive person who takes pride in having JOMO (Joy of Missing Out). People, events, and offers were not the only things I said no to. I began saying no to spending a good amount of my time scrolling endlessly through my social media accounts or anything digital for that matter.

Saying yes to too many things you can simply turn down can weigh you down with tasks and responsibilities that you could be doing. Not only does it lower your productivity levels, it heightens your stress levels as well, allowing yourself to multi-task and decrease the quality of your output. So if you’re wondering when it’s best to say no to a person or a situation, here’s a list of questions I compiled which you can ask yourself when the opportunity comes:

Would saying no affect any aspects in your family?

Family comes first after all. If an opportunity, no matter how good or uninteresting it is, affects your family in any way, it’s best to just decline. Choosing your family’s welfare over other things not only builds their confidence and trust in you. But it helps create a stronger foundation within family members, especially newly-formed ones. However, it’s not mandatory to say no for the sake of family. This is most common when making business or professional decisions. Place every crucial decision on a  case-to-case basis and don’t come up with a decision without thinking them through from every angle possible.

Would saying no inconvenience anyone else in your social circle?

Another perspective to look at when making decisions is your social circle. Social circles are usually composed of your extended family, close friends, neighbours, community members and leaders, and even your colleagues at work. Friends come close to family as they are often treated a degree lower when it comes to priorities. If your family is safeguarded from you saying no, think about your social circle next. Would they benefit from your decision as well as your family? It pays to think about other people’s expense as well.

Would saying no cause problems for your health?

If saying no to something or someone can cause you more hurt than gain in the aspect of your personal health, don’t sit on it. Health is wealth after all. And we’re not just talking about physical health, but mental, spiritual, and emotional health as well. While you’re young, decisions concerning health are usually disregarded due to your youthful physique and present priorities which is to have fun and to establish your growing career. This is a common mistake for youthful people who prioritise fun over health. Sure it’s fun to eat as much and as often as you want, but are the detrimental effects worth it when you grow older? Think about it for a second.

On second thought, don’t think about it.

Do something about it today.

Would saying no affect the current state of your business or career?

While I placed your family’s benefit way above this list, I also want you to make decisions on your individual perspective. Would taking a leap in business help you grow your business or build your career in an industry you’re currently interested in? If it will, think hard about it before you come up with a decision. Your family may disagree with you putting your career first, but know that the decision you’ve come up by yourself may just be the elixir you need to bring back your ailing career to life.

saying no

Would saying no remove your plans to have fun?

“Why is ‘fun’ at the bottom of this list? Is it that unimportant?”

No. Your fun is mentioned last because it’s the last thing any adult would think about when making a crucial decision. When you were young and your Mum asks you to help with the dishes rather than enjoy watching Saturday morning cartoons, don’t you feel a little dejected when you finally decide to get up from the couch because Mum has called you by your full name? From that situation, you can compare how your perspective as an adult differs from when you were younger.

When you were younger, you would think to yourself, “I only get 2 days off from school and she does this thing all day, every day. How would me helping her change anything? I’d rather go out with my friends all weekend than help around if it’s going to be like this”.

But when you’re older, you would think, “I can spare a few minutes to help her around. I have all 2 days to laze around anyway. A few minutes surely wouldn’t hurt. I wonder if she needs help with taking out the garbage, too? That could make things quicker for both of us. Maybe we could go out and watch a movie later when everything’s done”.

See how the two perspectives differ? The young person’s approach tends to centre around personal fun and self-importance while the adult’s approach centres on finding a way to have fun, get things done, and satisfy the needs of both parties. Both ages are thinking about fun, but they have different approaches in doing so.

Has this blog inspired you to say no to the things that don’t outweigh the more important matters? If it did, please feel free to share your insights in a comment below. For more professional life tips and hacks, please visit my blog today.