By saying yes when you need to say no, you cripple the most important relationship in your life: the relationship between you and you. — Nea Joy

When it comes to saying No, Steve Jobs was a master. He was a few of those people who would say no to the good things, so that he could focus on something great. This is the underlying philosophy that led to Apple becoming one of the greatest companies in the world, creating some of the most technically sound products ever.

A small example of how good Steve was as saying no to distractions is given by these words of Tim Cook “There is no one better at turning off the noise that is going on around him. That allows him to focus on a few things and say no to many things. Few people are really good at that.”

What Steve did was no magic trick. All he did was to focus his entire energy on doing things that matter, rather than getting distracted. If you too want to bring end to all the distractions in your life, here’s what you need to do –

“Say NO to poor planning and yes to effective work management. Switch to ProofHub.”

Ask yourself

Before saying yes to something, ask yourself this question — ‘Do I really need to do this?’

Don’t give the answer to it in haste. Take a few seconds to think and then answer it. Chances are a big chunk of your distractions will automatically wind up at this stage only.

The problem with us is that we are so used to saying yes to everything in life that only after we are stuck in the middle of nowhere after saying yes that we come to realize we’ve made a mistake. However, if we take time to think and answer things won’t mess up even one bit.

Set boundaries

So you’ve avoided the situation one time by thinking before saying yes. What if the situation does not give you time to think? Won’t it be great if you created a certain set of boundaries for yourself. Anything beyond those boundaries would automatically meet ‘No’ as an answer?

This is one of my personal favorites, and I’ve been practicing this technique for all these years. In fact, this is what Steve Jobs used to follow. He had a set frame of mind of what he wanted the product to look like, and if anything did not fit within those boundaries he would simply cut it out by saying no to it!

So, if you can take a leaf or two out of Steve’s book, it can be great!

Start practicing

Mastering the art of saying no requires time. It’s not that you can become adept in an instant. That’s why I advise you to start practicing this art. Begin by saying no to things at your home or friends, to whom you think saying no won’t hurt them.

But remember, never apologize for saying no. By being apologetic for saying no, you are insulting your choice. Practice saying no with confidence. Once you gain full confidence at it, it is time to put this practice into use.


A no in the beginning is far better than cribbing about the yes you said. Pre-empting might be the most difficult part about a decision, but it is the most effective means of letting other people know that you already have something on your plate.

This will neither hurt their expectations, nor they will feel bad about you not being able to focus on things while being in the middle of their request. Bring it into practice by announcing that you won’t be able to take requests (when you are certain that someone is going to make a request for something, which you cannot take).

Saying No is a subtle art

You know what’s the most difficult part about saying no is? It is the fact that you need to master this subtle art with time. It is human tendency to say yes to people who matter to us, even though we know the decision might put us in trouble. This is the reason we need to master this art with time.

Initially, you might find difficult getting used to saying no. But the conscious effort to bring this practice into daily life could prove to be the best decision ever. Not only will you start setting priorities for things that matter in your life but it will prove to be a great beginning towards a more contented life. Rather than focusing on what matters to others, you will now have vision on what matters the most in your life. Isn’t that something you always wanted to achieve?

Originally published at

About Author:

Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. A passionate leader, Sandeep is always on the lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams and companies. He is also a featured writer on LinkedIn and a contributing author at YourStory. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

Also follow our company page @ProofHub to get the recent updates about our tool, published articles, motivational quotes & presentations.