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The Art of "NO"

Would it be fair to say that, as an adult, we have all had a point in our lives where we have felt overwhelmed? Perhaps over-committed?

Sometimes we don't even realise we have committed to so many things until we get to a point where we are exhausted, running an uphill race. Busy-ness can creep up on you. Take a step back and look at your week. How did it get so busy?


If you don't already own a planner and you find you're over committed, BUY A PLANNER! Why? Because you can get a visual look at what your week will look like.

This will help you better plan your time, spread your appointments out, suss your trips to town etc. You don't want to get to the end of the week and wonder "did I feed the cat last night? or "was I supposed to go to a parent teacher interview?"


I've heard people say that they have it all in their phones, but it's not the same. A calendar or appointment schedule on your phone is out of sight. You have to remember to go into it to find your appointments rather than having it open on the kitchen bench. It also means you are on your phone a lot more, rather than being 'present'. You find yourself not only looking up your appointments, but then scrolling through the other apps on your phone, taking up time, and taking you away from your surroundings. Besides, there are other added benefits to writing, such as stress reduction (the art of writing things down whether in a diary, planner or journal helps relieve stress) and better memorisation (writing things down commits them to your memory better than viewing on a screen).

Already have a planner? Well done! That's the first step to organising you/your families life. I've had weeks where it seems like all I've been doing is driving and going to one appointment after another. But by having it all written down, I can cross out, move them around, sort out the NOW items (e.g school camp) from the ON HOLD items (e.g hair appointment).

I love being able to see my week and get my head around my time allocation. I have the added not-so-bonus of working around the days that my husband is away from home as well.

But for some people, it's not so much about organising their week, as it is not being able to say NO.


Do you find you are constantly helping others, volunteering, putting your hand up to be the sports coach? Don't get me wrong. These are good traits to have. But there is a point where you need to STOP.

I know a few people pleasers, and I have personally told them they need to stop. Their families start to suffer as they commit to other people more than time with the family. They offer up their weekends to help Joe move house, or drive a friend to the airport.

Prioritise. Figure out how much you can say yes to without compromising too heavily on your own life/health/family. Driving four hours to pick up that Trade Me item for a friend might not be worth it. Take a note of how often you find yourself saying 'yes' to extra commitments, write it down and take a look at it. Figure out how much time you are committing to others and find a balance. I know it can be hard to say no when your natural instinct is to help others, but you do need to think of yourself and your family too. If they're your friends, they'll understand.


Your family, your health and your time are important. If you are exhausted and still saying yes to extra commitments, your health will suffer. Then you're not good anyone, not even yourself!

Keeping a planner will help you to see where your time went. It will help you better plan for what's to come and it will show you how much you are actually capable of, while maintaining a life balance. Don't be that person that picks up an extra shift the day before your cousins wedding that you have to drive 3 hours to get to before heading home and dropping Uncle Arthur off at the airport.


  • Evaluate your week

  • Write it down - it's good for the brain!

  • If you're over committing, say NO

  • Don't feel guilty for having to turn people down

  • You'll be better off for it, and you're friends will still love ya!

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