How to say no
Real Life, Self Improvement

How Saying “Yes” to the Wrong Things Could Be Stealing Hours from Your Day

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Are you Saying “Yes” to the Wrong Things? How to say “no” with emotion and “yes” with a plan instead of the opposite when planning your days.

How to say no and how saying yes to the wrong things could be stealing hours from your day

Busy mama or busy gal, I want to talk about a little something called “time management”.

Woah. Did your stomach just turn a little? I’ve been listening, and I get it…

“Jessica, I just don’t have enough time to spend with my family.”

“There aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m working, running the kids to all of their events, cooking dinner, doing the laundry and the list goes on! I can’t manage it all!”

“I’m only one person and everyone wants something from me.”

Say “No” with Emotion and “Yes” with a Plan

If you’re experiencing time management anxiety, try to explore saying “no” by emotion and “yes” with a plan when trying to manage your time each day.

Not the opposite. Let me explain.

So many of us say “yes” with emotion.

Have you ever thought or said,

“I said yes to helping with the bake sale so I didn’t disappoint them.”


“I’ll be there! Sign me up. I’ll just drink more coffee that day or figure out how to make it work later.”

Sister, if you’re looking for more hours in your day, let’s start with dissecting these scenarios to see if it’s something we can realign in your crazy busy life.

Don’t Say “Yes” with Emotion

I love examples so let’s start with a real-life example that took place today.

Text from a sweet friend,

“Hey Jess! Are you going to be at church this Sunday? If so, what do you think about setting up that iced coffee bar that we chatted about? If so, I’ll check with the church and see if we can do it!”

My immediate thought,

“Heck yes! Sign me up!”

I mean, I’ve been wanting to do this with her since we talked about it months ago.

But wait…

The trap we fall in to sometimes is responding by emotion when it comes to our schedules and plans.

If I would have responded immediately with emotion, (whether it be because I’m super excited about doing it, or because I didn’t want to tell her no or let her down) it would have been something like this:

“Yep I’ll be there! Let’s do it! Can’t wait!”

— there it is. I’m committed.

No pausing, no looking at my schedule to see if there was something that could contradict it, nothing.

What if there was something planned already that slipped my memory that would cause a major time management issue for my weekend?

For instance, if there is a birthday party that I’m supposed to be at shortly after church that day, and it wouldn’t allow ample time to clean up and take down the iced coffee bar that we want to set up.

Or if we’re going out with friends on the Saturday before and will more than likely be staying the night up in the city?

That sure wouldn’t leave much time to prep and plan the night before.

I probably wouldn’t also be too hip with myself the next morning after staying out late and committing to something that required a lot of hands-on planning and prep.

People Pleasers Beware!

Saying “yes” before pausing and planning can easily result in having to back out of something at the last minute or completely forgetting about it… causing stress and craziness for someone else.

Now we don’t want that, do we? I mean, if you’re a people pleaser, that’s like your worst nightmare. So people pleasers…saying “no” ahead of time is MUCH better than saying no at the last minute, don’t you think?

Don’t Say “No” to YOUR Plans

Why do we do this?! We say “no” to OUR plans. Sometimes we put things of true importance on the back burner or even OURSELVES on the back burner without hesitation, or even without even realizing it.

Take the emotion out of saying “yes” to everything and say “no” with emotion instead.

No no no… I’m not saying yell the word “NO” with emotion at someone. I’m saying pause, feel the emotion associated with what you’re getting ready to commit to and if it doesn’t feel right, say “no”.

Jessica, I don’t know how to say no.

OHHHH, sister, I did too. I struggled with this for a LONG time and wanted everyone to like me. I wanted to be supermom and I wanted people to think that I had all of my crap together.

The minute, day, month… or whenever the heck it was, that I let go of that… my happiness, contentment, and satisfaction of each day dramatically skyrocketed.

I started saying “no” to what I didn’t want to do or what I didn’t have time for. You know what happened?

  • I still have friends. Did some drift away because I didn’t make every single thing I was invited to? Sure. But is that who I really consider a friend anyway? To be honest… this also made time to make new friends who I truly believe will be around forever and who are TRUE friends.
  • I started spending more time with my boys. The mom-guilt started fading away.
  • I had time for the things that mattered to me and had time all of a sudden to live and love like Jesus and take care of people in my life who really needed help.
  • I saved money. YES! Why? Because saying “no” meant that I didn’t have to spend it on gas to run all over God’s country, grab take-out or snacks at the gas station because it would be 10:00 at night before we got home for dinner every night or buy whatever was necessary to accomplish what I had said “yes” to, when I didn’t even really want to do it.

Friends, do you see how not only being more emotional about saying “no” and planning your “yes” can not only give you more time in your day but also bring out other routes of happiness in your life?

“So I have to say no to everything?”

Of course not! But I do encourage you to consider saying no to the things that you don’t see value in at the moment. Especially if it’s something you can do at a later time when you have the time and energy for it.

Insert the “But What If’s…”

“Jessica, you’re dreaming. I have to work. My husband travels for work and I’m a single mom. My kids want to do all of the activities that they do, and I want them to be able to have that option. We can’t wear dirty clothes everday… I have to do laundry.”

I hear you. But you’re still reading this post, (I’m THRILLED that you’re still here by the way) and I truly believe that you WANT to see a change in your days, and I also believe that there are ways to make more time in the day. Maybe it’s 5 minutes, maybe it’s 5 hours.

Each household is different, each person is different and each life is different. But no matter what your life looks like right now, I’d love for you to start with looking at your day tomorrow.

Take Some Action

What do you have planned? Is there anything that you can say “no” to, so you can make time for something that you’ve been longing for? (Time with the kids, date night, laundry, meal planning, a massage?)

No? Maybe tomorrow is too soon. We can ease into it. What about next week? What can you say no to?

How to Say “No”

Let me give you some “no” replies to put in your mental bank for when you need them.

When someone asks you to do something…

“I’m so sorry I wish I could, but I can’t.” — notice I didn’t have to give a reason why.

“Gosh darn it, I already have something scheduled for that day or I would.”

“You know, I wish I could but I won’t be able to make that one. But I’m really wanting to help. Can I donate money, or help out ahead of time or afterward in some way?”

Or when you’re saying yes to something you don’t really want to be saying “yes” to…

“How much time have I spent on Facebook today? Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to delete the app for just a bit so I can spend that time focusing on something I’ve been wanting to spend time on.”

Hittin’ that snooze button. Easier said than done, right? I get it. But just tomorrow morning… give it a try. Think twice about hitting that button and think about something that will encourage you to get out of bed. Maybe it’s the new pumpkin spice creamer you just bought to put in your coffee.
Maybe it’s the new outfit that you can’t wait to wear. What is something to help you bust out of bed earlier than normal, so you can finish those dirty dishes before the kids get up, and you can come home to clean house!

Or Just Say “No”

I was a chronic “No, because ___” gal for years. You know, the one that can’t say “no” unless I had an amazing excuse so they wouldn’t think less of me?

The day that someone “gave me permission” to just say “no” without an explanation and a reason, is a day I’ll never forget. I’ve never felt so free in my life.

It’s hard to only say “no” the first time, but once you do it… it gets much easier. Promise.

What if They Ask Why You Can’t?

“Oh I have something else going on.”

“You know, I’ve just been so busy and I don’t think I can possibly squeeze another thing in right now.”

You don’t have to be specific, and you don’t have to be rude by saying “I just don’t want to.” But I’ve yet for someone to hound me for saying no to something that I truly didn’t think I had the time or energy for.

Cliff Notes:

In case you’ve scrolled to the bottom of this post without reading all of the above, I get it.

I mean, that’s why you’re here right? You’re pressed for time.

So I’ve given you the cliff notes below…

Plan Your Yes: Saying “yes” before pausing and planning can overcommit you, add stress, lead to disappointment, and so much more. Before saying “yes” think: “Do I have time that day? Can I make that happen? Is it something that I can find value in? Can I do this instead of X that I should really be making a priority? Plan Your Yes.

Say No With Your Emotion: Consider how YOU feel and what YOU want and then say “no” to what you truly don’t want to do. It’s ok to say no. The world will still go ’round, your kids will still love you and better yet… saying “no” and letting go of something may just make those areas in your life that you work so hard for, get better naturally.

So what are you saying “No” to today? Tomorrow? Next week?

Creating Your Happy

Let me know in the comments below or head over to our Creating Your Happy group on Facebook where we dive deep into topics just like this one and encourage one another to find that level of happiness that we all deserve!


If you LOVE self-improvement topics like this one, then you’ll love all of the related blog posts here where I spill my heart and what I’ve learned so far in life to hopefully help you in some areas! Read those  HERE!

2 thoughts on “How Saying “Yes” to the Wrong Things Could Be Stealing Hours from Your Day

  1. Megan says:

    So very true sister!! I used to always feel like I had to give an excuse too, but I have slowly come to realize I don’t. I like your idea about just saying I have too much going on right now. Because even if you don’t technically have a conflict scheduled that day, nobody can argue with whether or not you have too much on your plate! Another thing I’ve realized is even if a commitment (particularly an ongoing one) is a good thing, if it’s causing me stress, then it’s no longer good! And of course, I have long since come to grips with letting laundry/cleaning slide! Lol!

    1. Jessica says:

      Ah! I’m so glad to see your comment Megan! Thank you SO much. I love what you’ve said too about all of this, and loved that you mentioned what resonated with you!
      Haha! Heck yes… laundry and cleaning can totally slide!! Haha!
      Thank you for dropping a note Megan, it means a lot! 🙂 XO

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