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How to Say ‘No’ With Confidence, so That You Can Focus on What Matters the Most


“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet

As an entrepreneur who’s starting a new business or growing an existing one, you will come across a whole  lot of opportunities.

In a world with infinite options, the key to success is to focus on the essentials. Focus on the 20% that will give you 80% of the results.

But to do that, you should be comfortable saying “NO” to events, offers and people who may not get you optimal returns on the time and effort spent. This practice  will:

  • Sharpen your Focus
  • Save time on low priority tasks & meetings
  • Save money on unnecessary expenses
  • Fuel your entrepreneurial drive

But to some degree, you already know that! You do realize that you can be better off working on two really life changing ideas instead of spreading yourself thin chasing a dozen mediocre offers.

What’s so difficult about saying ‘No’ are our preconceived notions that believe more is better.  We want to maximize all your opportunities because anyone might give us that sought after break.

I had the same dilemma in my own business. As my venture grew, a  plethora of tempting options came my way. Each day would bring something that seemed ‘worth looking into’, ‘worth saying yes to’!

But after burning my fingers a few times, I realized that, “I can do anything, but I can’t do everything”

I used to find it difficult to say No. But after implementing GTD® in my life, it became easier.

How GTD Helped me Learn How to Say ‘No’

One of the factors to measure how well you’ve implemented GTD, is to check if you have a complete Projects list.

This is nothing but a thorough inventory of all your commitments, that take more than 1 step to complete.

On an average a person would have somewhere between 30 to a 100 projects.

By externalizing all my commitments, I can look at them objectively. So when a new opportunity comes, it’s very easy to say no.

I don’t feel guilty, nor do I suffer from the anxiety of missing out on something great ’cause I can SEE that there are more  important things for me to focus on.

But What if a Million $ Opportunity Comes my Way. Am I Going to Say No?

Here’s the thing. You can only be confident of making that decision if you know what your existing commitments are.

If you have a Billion $ commitment that you’re working on, perhaps it’s not a good idea to take up that Million $ opportunity. But if you’re just starting out, it maybe a good idea to renegotiate your commitments, so that you can give the new offer a shot..

Only you would know!

All I am saying is that instead of “hoping” that you’ve made the right decision, with GTD you can trust your choices since you get a complete inventory of your agreements that you can review regularly.

Start keeping a list of all your commitments, and update them at least once a week.

You’ll find yourself saying No easily. And without any fear. Or guilt.

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