How to Say No Before You damage Yourself and Your Career

How to Say No Before You damage Yourself and Your Career


When you need to say no, it can be hard. You might feel like you’re letting down your boss or letting down yourself as a person who wants to do well. But saying no is an important skill for any professional and will help you focus on your work and do it well, which will help you in the long run. Here are some tips for how to keep your career alive by refusing tasks that will overwhelm us:


Feeling guilty about saying no is a sign that you are a good person.

You may feel guilty about saying no because you think that it means that you’re a bad person. This isn’t true! Guilt is normal and healthy, but it can become a problem when we try to avoid feeling it or cover up our feelings with self-deception. It can also cause us to make bad decisions that harm ourselves and others, so it’s important for us to deal with our feelings of guilt head-on instead of trying to keep them hidden or denying their existence altogether.

If the thought of saying no makes your stomach turn because there’s always something else I could do instead, then ask yourself why this would matter if the end result was still good? Why do we care so much about doing things right when all along what matters most is making sure everyone around me has more fun?

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Assess whether you have the bandwidth to take on another task.

The first thing you need to do is assess whether or not you have the bandwidth to take on another task. If your workload has been heavy lately, then it may be hard for you to find time in your schedule for another project. However, if things are quiet and there is room in your calendar for some new projects or tasks that require less attention than usual, then those are probably good candidates!

If this feels like too much work—and it could very well be—consider taking one step at a time: pick out something small and easy (like writing an article), but also make sure that whatever comes next is worth doing before moving onto something larger. This can help keep those ideas from getting buried under other commitments until they’re ready for action! The key here is knowing when enough time has passed where it’s safe enough again..


Be prepared for the worst case, not the best case.

  • You can’t predict how things will turn out.
  • You can’t predict how you will feel when you are in the middle of a task, or when it is done.
  • You can’t predict how you will feel after saying no, and whether or not it was the right decision for your career advancement as well as personal growth.

Assess whether it can be done in a way that does not overwhelm you.

When you are asked to do something that is beyond your limits and capabilities, it can be tempting to say yes. After all, the other person might be upset if you don’t meet their expectations. But this is where being a good leader comes into play:

If you are unsure whether or not something can be done in a way that does not overwhelm you, ask for help from someone who knows what they’re talking about. You should also consider how much time and money are required for the project before agreeing on taking it on yourself (if there would be any). If possible, try finding someone else who has similar skills but less experience with similar projects; they may have ideas about how best approach this one based on their previous experiences working with similar tasks beforehand rather than just giving an off-the-cuff answer like “sure!”

Also See: 7 Tips to Help You Ace Your Next Insurance Interview

Talk to your boss about your workload if it is too much.

If you are overloaded, it is better to say no than to do a poor job. Your boss will appreciate the honesty and will know that you are trying your best.

If you need more time or resources in order to complete tasks, don’t be afraid of asking for them! You can easily ask for one extra hour per day or an extra week off every month to catch up on some things.

Consider suggesting another person better suited to do the job.

If you are not the best person for the job, it is better to suggest someone else. You may be able to help by giving advice on how they can improve their performance and meeting goals.

If you need to leave a position because of personal reasons like health problems or family responsibilities, consider talking with your supervisor about voluntary separation from your role before moving on.

Know your boundaries and explain them.

When you are being asked to do something, ask yourself:

  • What is the task? Is it a job that I have done before and can do again? If so, then no problem. If not, then stop right there!
  • Who am I helping by taking on this assignment? Who will benefit from my efforts (yourself or someone else)? How will they benefit from my efforts (will they be able to learn something new)? How will they feel about working with me after-wards (happy or sad). Will they still want to work with me in the future because of this experience and what we accomplished together today/last week/last month etc.? If not, then don’t take on the assignment!

Also See: Looking for a job in the NGO/humanitarian sector in Nigeria? Here are some tips on how to make your application stand out.

Saying no will help you focus on your work and do it well, which will help you in the long run

Saying no is a way to focus on your work and do it well. If you have been saying yes to everything, then you are likely spending too much time on non-work related activities, which can lead to burnout or even stress-related illnesses. When we say yes all the time, we don’t give ourselves enough time for our own personal growth. We end up with less energy for working because we need to spend more time doing things that are not related directly with what needs doing at work (like cleaning the house). When this happens over an extended period of time, our productivity goes down significantly because there simply isn’t enough mental capacity left over from one day’s worth of tasks before others start demanding attention again!


You may have heard things like, “You’re so unprofessional!” or “How can you work for someone who doesn’t know how to say no?” But saying no is not only fair—it can be the key to your career success. The best way to avoid feeling guilty about saying no is to first assess if there is a better way for you personally to handle the situation. If there isn’t, then don’t stress about it too much; just go ahead and do what’s best for you.

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