This post has been updated from an original post shared on 1/20/16.

This year, I’ve set some goals for myself which revolve around staying true to my mission: helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses via strategic and holistic marketing. To accomplish this, editing and curating what I participate in is crucial to my success. I’ve found that the ability to say, “no” confidently has aided in my ventures.

I have had periods of life where I “say yes to everything.” In fact, I’m just coming out of one recently. For most of 2015, I said, “yes.” There is magic in this space. New avenues open, new opportunities arise. And then I become overworked, tired and get sick. I am a people pleaser. I do things to be nice in addition to my commitments. This is not how I will succeed.

I realized that when I say, “no” after giving some thought, I’ve got the capacity to handle what I’ve committed to. Being more selective further promotes my commitments, and the projects I’m involved with receive the best of me, not the distracted version of myself.

There are some psychological elements at play here. “Hyberbolic Discounting” – meaning the present moment is exaggerated in our mind therefore easier to say yes than to say no. Of course if we were to think this over for even a few minutes, we would understand what saying,”yes” to something actually means for us.

Think of what it means to say, “yes” to a commitment. Feel that pain!

Second, think of the opportunity cost. What will you be giving up when you say yes to this one thing in front of you? Using the power of, “no” you’re honoring your commitments. There will be a time when you have space for something new.

In our world, where we are forced to multitask with projects, opportunities, information, I’m a fan of monotasking – focusing on one thing at a time to complete it to the best of my ability and never sacrifice quality. Mono tasking is the way forward.

Apparently, great minds think alike, Lena Dunham posted this today. But how does one say no without sounding rude, uninterested and impolite?

I’ve collected some phrases that you can place into your own tone and voice and use regularly.

  1. “I’d love to be involved with that, yet, I’m unable to participate. Can I help you find someone else?”
  2. “I’d like to be involved with that project and I’m on a deadline until Thursday, can we meet on Friday?”
  3. “Sounds interesting, I need to sleep on this and check in with my (partner, boss, kids), let me get back to you.”
  4. “I’d like to meet with you but at a later date. Can we revisit in a few days/weeks/months?”
  5. “I think your idea is wonderful! Im not able to participate at this time.”
  6. “If I take on another task right now, I wouldn’t be honoring my commitment to my other projects. Let’s discuss when this would make sense in my schedule.”
  7. “I’m working on creating balance in my life right now. No, thank you.”
  8. I’m sorry if you were counting on me. How can I make it up to you?”
  9. “I appreciate your thinking of me, and I’m honored by the request. But unfortunately, I don’t have the time to give this my best right now. I think you would benefit from finding someone who can devote more time and energy to this project.”

  10. “Thanks for thinking of me for X. However, I’m going to have to turn this down. I want to ensure I continue to do my best with my existing workload and my plate’s a little too full for me to be able to take this on right now. Sorry I can’t be of more help!”

To really get the effect you’d like, say one of the phrases above, and just stop talking.