The Art of Saying No

I have a few volunteer positions, a job, grad school, friends, and family. Needless to say juggling it all has been pretty exhausting. It’s hard for me to say no. I like to help, but I’m learning that I have to say no, in order to sleep and feel like a human being.

This is my life

A post shared by Jessica Hall (@jessicanicolehall) on

For me this is really hard. At the root of the problem is that I really do like to help people. I have a strong commitment to everything I do. I don’t quit. But I have been learning how to juggle all of these things so that I don’t go crazy, or collapse because of exhaustion, along the way. For me it comes down to a couple of things:

  1. Prioritize. I look at what I really need to do. And can do. For instance, I’m on the board of the Lewis Community Spouses Club, and my work schedule doesn’t allow me to make the luncheons, but I do make time for our monthly meeting and special events that are on evenings or weekends. I can’t make all of them, but I know that if I can volunteer for those that I’m doing what I can. Same goes with our FRG, I know that I can’t make every social event, but I make time for the meetings.
  2. Your Calendar is your friend. I used to have a paper one but I just kept leaving it at home, doing me no good. Google calendar makes it easy for me to see what’s going on when. And scheduling everything that needs to happen.
  3. Think about sleep! I know this is silly, but I have night classes for grad school so on the day after I don’t plan anything for the morning since I get home so late. I am glad my job is part-time and flexible enough that I can do this, but it really helps to know that the next day I can sleep in.
  4. If you get overwhelmed cancel plans. This is not ideal but I have done it. My poor friends, I have not seen them in forever, but I know that I need time to do homework, and just veg on my couch. Sometimes being social is the last thing I can do, and I want to spare my friends from grouchy Jessica. I’m grateful that I have such great friends that get it and are okay with me not being at everything.
  5. Just say no. The last few weeks I’ve been so tempted to tell people, “if you need anything call me.” And I realize that I can’t say that because I don’t have as much flexibility to just drop things. Now if it was an emergency, sure, but just a “oh you need one more person for that event? Just call me.” Nope. That is not a possibility. I hate it in some ways because I want to help, but I know that I can’t. It hurts, but I know at the end of the day that I’m getting my work done, and not overexerting myself.

Any other tips for saying no? Anyone else super involved and have a good system down to get it all done?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *