Know when to say NO

You are a freelancer, you are your own boss, you decide everything, you are in control of your life, but… For some reason, you are constantly in situations where you are doing things and tasks that you do not want to do. When someone asks you for something, you feel pressure and do not know how to say that simple word: NO. Do not worry, here are some tips that might help.

The first thing you should learn is that you do not have to do the tasks that you don’t want to. The decision is yours. When picking tasks, find something that is interesting, something that you are good at. You have every right to refuse tasks that could stress you out. If you do not enjoy a task, if it does not help you professionally, you are not fulfilled by it and if there are no benefits, stop doing it. Say NO to tasks that demand a lot of time but are not paid accordingly.

Organize your time so that when a client asks you to take on a new task you have a good reason why you can or can’t do it. When saying NO, it is important to point out the reasons. For example, if your client wants to suddenly change the deadline and needs something done sooner than you first agreed, it is OK to say that you will need more time and try to work out a compromise. If you accept a task that you cannot finish in time, it will just make things worse.

Reflect on your personal boundaries. You must put a firm line between what you want and do not want. Be realistic and honest about your skills, your own capacities, abilities, and deadlines too. Take the time to make the right decision. If you are offered to take on a task you are not ready for, and if you know that you will not able to do a good job, say NO.

If you have some negative experience with a client, next time just say NO to a job offer. Of course, be polite and stay nice, say that you do not have the time, or that you have a lot of other assignments. If they call you again, repeat the same. Use magic words like “thank you” and “sorry”.

When you really have too much work to do, it’s especially important to say “NO”. Too many tasks and too little time can lead to pressure and stress. The whole point is to avoid them. Your health is more important than work.

Always have in mind what you really want in your business life and choose your projects accordingly. Remember, you are your own boss.


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