We can’t really manage time. We can work within its boundaries, though, in a manageable way. Key to getting things done and accomplishing what we want to accomplish, is to create the space in your life to let those things happen. To get the results you want, you have to create space for good results.

One of the key ways to create space and use your time in a wiser manner is to learn how to say no. As women, we really, really have a difficult time with this.

We have not been raised to say no in most instances. We are raised to cooperate and get along with others. Signs of aggressive behavior are frowned upon in most circumstances. We are supposed to be agreeable and keep the peace.

Now, this isn’t true in all circumstances, but in general and from talking to women all my life I have found this to be true.

There are a lot of reasons we don’t want to say no.
• We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
• We like feeling needed.
• We really want to do it.
• We feel bad actually saying the word.
• We don’t want to miss out on something.
• We don’t want to disappoint.

But if we can learn to say no more often and at the right times, that skill will enable us to create more time for what is really important in our lives. And what is important is different for everyone.

Sometimes we think that we are being selfish because we don’t want to do something just because we want some time to ourselves, to do NOTHING. We don’t even know what we want to do with our time, but we know we want to be alone. And that’s ok. If you find yourself always saying no, this may be something you want to examine, but I am talking about the times that we agree to something over and over again that we really do not want to do.

By saying no to some things, you are saying YES to some very important things. Yes to more time for ourselves. Yes to more time for our health. Yes to more time to think and decide what is truly important to us.

Perhaps we just need time to think sometimes. Maybe listen to some music or go for a walk. Maybe saying no just a few more times in your day and in your week would give you the time to do that.

Saying no takes practice. A good way to begin is to say it once a day to one request.

No can be delayed while you get up your courage. Wait fifteen minutes to give an answer to a request or invitation. Wait one day, if you still need more time. It is hard at first, until you get the hang of it.

Now, for some of you, maybe this is not a problem. For many of you, I am guessing, this something that could help you in your life. You can create little spaces of time in your day, by not agreeing to everything someone asks you to do. Now, I am not talking about work and boss requests, (I guess unless they were completely out of line!) but I am talking about your personal life. (Maybe something here about unreasonable work loads….)

Another thing to try that we don’t think about, is saying no to ourselves. This too takes practice, but it can create amazing changes in our day, in our health, in all parts of our lives.

Try saying no to yourself about things that are bad for you.
• No, I know I will feel bad if I eat that food. (Actually here is another situation where waiting 15 minutes can help. See if you still want the food in 15 minutes.)
• No, I cannot watch that movie, because I have to get up early tomorrow.
• No, I will not drink that soda and will have water instead.
• No, I will not see that man again—he is making me crazy!

Some of us are so used to saying yes and being agreeable; we have forgotten how to say no. Practice.

Remember, saying no sometimes is saying YES to all sorts of possibilities.

Diana Fletcher©2009

Author's Bio: 

Certified Life Coach, author, and speaker Diana Fletcher is The Stress Reducing Expert. She is a master at helping her clients and students reduce their stress and live healthier, more balanced lives. For fun and easy ideas of how to improve your health and lower your stress level immediately, visit DianaFletcher.com and receive “25 Simple Tips to Reducing Stress,” or register for one of Diana’s free monthly teleseminars today.