The powerful little word "no"

The powerful little word "no"

That powerful little word “no”, so hard to say but oh so effective.  If you’re a parent, you’ll know that it’s often the most common word that you use, as you attempt to teach your children the boundaries of life.  This little word can be difficult, as we love our children and want to provide for them.  As they slowly become adults, a new respect develops for this tiny word and how difficult it can be to say out loud when needed.

Although saying “no” to others can be a difficult task for some of us, the most difficult person to say “no” to is yourself.  This is otherwise known as self discipline.  We’ve all been there.  Some are more effective at self discipline than others, or more disciplined in some areas of our lives than others.

Saying “no” to family and friends

Let’s look at this in the context of your business.  You’re working away at your office (for some this is a home office).  The phone rings and you see that it’s a family member or friend and you feel obliged to answer.  There could be a dire emergency after all!  Thank goodness there isn’t, however your Auntie keeps you on the phone for 30 minutes.  After all you can’t say “no” to her, can you?  However, that’s 30 mins of your precious work time gone forever.  You might think I sound harsh but here’s the reality, that 30 minutes can NEVER be recovered for work time, no matter which way you look at it.  Sure it was nice to catch up with your Auntie, but you can do that after your work hours!

Unless you set boundaries for your family and friends, they will continue to interrupt you during work hours.  Kindly and politely explain to your family member or friend that you’re working and would like to speak to them another time.  Let them know that they can call during business hours if it’s an emergency of course, but not for general chit chat.  The more you do this, the more you train your family and friends to ONLY ring when it is an emergency.

Saying “no” to yourself

I used to think I could “latte” my way to success i.e. spending time having lattes with people!  Sure, it was useful and generated many contacts and resources but there was a point where it was becoming more of a social habit rather than productive time.  I love working in cafes but I’m now more aware of when I’m using a latté as an excuse to “fluff around” rather than be productive.  I still meet up with friends for coffee but only at set times during the week where it can fit into my schedule.  And I’m not always able to make it, sometimes other commitments are necessary.  But I include these times in my work week to allow me to switch off for a while and recharge the batteries.  Say “no” to impromptu coffee invites when it’s not practical for your day, regardless of how much fun it would be.  Instead, schedule in a coffee date with someone each week to allow you to recharge.

Say “no” to fluffing around on social media or surfing the internet aimlessly too!  Don’t tell me it’s research as you and I both know that would be stretching the truth.  Do I spend time on social media and surfing the Internet? Absolutely!  But I structure it into my day; I don’t waste time that I could be using to work on exciting opportunities for my business.  I surf the internet often at night (I’m a morning person) when my brain is not able to process the complexities of my business but able to consume information and learn.

The success of your business depends on you.  Do you have the self discipline to say “no” to all the time wasters in your life including yourself? Self discipline allows you to focus, focus creates momentum and momentum helps fuel success in your business.  What will you say “no” to today?

P.S. Want to learn more about how to say “No” ?

And do you struggle to get things done in your day? Are you super busy keeping up with all the “busy” work in your business? And what about those projects you’ve been dying to implement but can’t find the time?

Click to read about Bizfficiency.  The program that will help you take back control over your life, reduce feelings of overwhelm and finally set your business on a growth path.


  1. I absolutely agree, self discipline is critical in achieving objectives and had to smile as I recognised some the places I waste time “researching”.

    • Thanks Harry. Self discipline is the big one. Its very easy to get carried away on “research”. I even tried to combine the research with my lattes to turn the social habit into a business habit, but I was deluding myself. Not that I don’t attempt to have as many meetings as possible that include lattes!

  2. I am convinced you had me in mind when you wrote this blog Alycia. It is a constant work-in-progress for me to be more self-discliped particularly with wasting time online trying to avoid the more important, necessary things for the business. Thank you for the reinforcement, great blog.

    • Thanks Annalisa, you’re not alone in this, we all have certain areas in our life where self discipline is easy and others that we have a constant battle with. I think if we become aware of the areas we struggle to be disciplined in and put boundaries in place we are well on our way to greater self discipline. One step at a time.

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