The Japanese have a word for it – KAROSHI!  It means death from overwork!  Now while most business owners won’t actually die from overwork, I don’t know about you but I didn’t start my business so I could work weekends, and evenings.  #worklessearnmore

I know you’re a busy business owner.  Me too.  So is your business bestie.  And if you’re anything like most of the entrepreneurs I know, you’ve got:

  • A to-do list a mile long
  • An inbox that grows exponentially DAILY
  • Requests for volunteer time
  • Family & friend invitations
  • Vacations coming up
  • Big dreams you want to accomplish!

So, the question becomes


Well certainly there are skills like delegating that we need to learn that can help.  But I want to share one of the BIGGEST productivity hacks ever and perhaps the one most overlooked.

The answer is a two-letter word we need to learn to say more often.

NO.  NO thanks.  NO.

It’s true – saying NO more often can make a huge difference to your business and your feeling of overwhelm.  Here’s a couple of ways you can do it with grace and ease (and without feeling guilty)!

1.  Just say it – put on your big girl panties and in a clear, confident voice say NO. You don’t need any justification as to why.  Just do it!

2.  If you want to be a little softer, “I’m sorry, but I can’t right now”. Still assertive and courteous.

3.  Understand that there are tactics that sales people use to get you to say yes. Think about charitable donations…. Apparently, most people say no at least 10 times or even more.  Sometimes charities rely on social or peer pressure.  Just being aware that this is happening is enough to give yourself permission to say NO.

4.  Set boundaries — When I owned my retail store, it seemed as though daily we were approached to donate to local charities: local school, hockey, football, girl guides and the list continues. I soon realized, we couldn’t afford to donate to them all.  So, I set some ‘boundaries’ and politely explained that we would donate to those charities which my own children were directly involved in.  That worked until they graduated school.  Then we simply choose ONE charity as our ‘charity of the year’.  Boundaries work well.

Think about your email inbox.  Before I go on vacation, I’m going to unsubscribe to numerous email lists.  I know that I will be able to re-subscribe at a later date if necessary.

Be thoughtful – is something serving you now?

5.  Put the question on the backburner for the time being and turn the question around. For instance, I’d be happy to do XYZ however I need 3 weeks rather than 2 weeks to do a good job.  Would that work for you?

6.  Be selfish – It’s important to remember that sometimes, it’s okay to put your needs FIRST.

Warren Buffet was quoted as saying ……. “the difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say NO to almost everything!”

What could you say NO to this week to reduce your workload?
Where would saying NO reduce your overwhelm?
Where would saying NO make you happier?

Food for thought!


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