saying no

Saying no: watch your self care and productivity surge

saying no

Do you often feel like you just don’t have the time to fit everything in? In today’s world we seem to be getting used to the addiction of ‘busyness’, to the point where it is often a source of pride for people.

“Oh I am so busy, what a week!”

“All about the hustle, who needs sleep?!”

Sound familiar? Rather than wishing for more time, overburdening yourself with tasks, and stressing yourself out, perhaps create your ‘Absolute No’ list and start saying no more often. Ask some of the most successful business owners and they will tell you the secret to getting ahead is the things you DON’T do.

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.” Warren Buffett.

Related: 7 quick ways to boost your confidence at work

This doesn’t mean saying no haphazardly, or doing through ‘no’ spurts every few months. It means filling your time with only things that are going to move your work forward, make you happy, fulfil your values, and boost productivity. It means creating your list of what you won’t do and sticking to it.

I often talk to clients who are struggling with their self care routine due to feeling the overwhelming feeling of being burdened with too many tasks. We sit down and create their ‘Absolute No’ list, and it can be an incredibly freeing and empowering exercise.

The premise is simple. Create a list of things you are NOT going to do this week (sort of an anti-to-do-list). They can be related to work, home, or self. Here are some suggestions:

My Absolute No list


-I won’t work more than 2 hours without a break
-I won’t eat at my desk
-I won’t look at social media until 10am
-I won’t stay late if asked


-I won’t miss meditations
-I won’t skip meals
-I won’t criticise myself for mistakes


-I won’t answer the phone after 5pm
-I won’t play on my iPhone during TV
-I won’t cook dinner 2 nights a week
-I won’t yell at the kids

If you get stuck with this, consider keeping a log of ALL of your activities for one typical day. Highlight the activities that make you feel the most overwhelmed, the most annoyed, or the most unproductive. These are the areas to start creative your Absolute No list around.

Related: 20 self care activities you can do in 20 mins or less

Need a reminder of your Absolute No tasks for the week? Click below to download your easy Absolute No list!

free no list





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  1. Wonderful and refreshing piece! Thanks for the reminder and the helpful tips!

  2. I keep saying this is my “year of no”, but I keep falling back on old habits. I definitely need to follow your tips! I love that you separated your no list into work and self. I am going to break it down as you did and I think that will help me more successful.

    1. Jess

      Old habits are hard to break! Be kind to yourself and get back on track when you can xx

  3. I love this! What a great way to set boundaries. I think women, in particular have trouble with this. I’m in a women’s business group and we talk about this all the time. Good for you, and thanks for the inspiration!

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