Helping growing creatives produce their best work through mindset, personal development and productivity tactics.

Say No Now So You Can Do the Things You Love


If you’re a people pleaser like me, this topic could feel unnatural to you because you’re used to saying yes.

I would say yes to most things because:

  • I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
  • If I said no I would offend them.
  • If I don’t go to this event I would be missing out—in other words, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) 

I realised this sort of thinking was not helping me reach my goals and I still struggle with this idea. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll have more courage and control over what you do. 

As I continue to read more and more books and articles, the power of saying “No” has become an apparent key to success.

I’ve learned by being selective and not say yes to everything, I will free my time to do what really matters.

Make Creating Your Priority

Ever heard of the “I wish I had more time” excuse? I’m guilty of that.

Looking back, I had the time. I just chose to fill that time with something else.

Sometimes, I genuinely would love to help but I’ve already made commitments.

I’m saying no now to some opportunities, so that I can yes to greater opportunities.

The reality is, if what you’re doing right now is taking you away from your goals, you have to say no to those things.

When I said yes to hanging out with friends, I’d be there and my conscience would think about that task I could be doing, or that illustration that needs finishing.

Watching TV is not a priority. Playing games is not a priority. Focusing your time to create the future you want, you can decide the priority level on that one.

Make Creating Part of Your Schedule

If someone says no to me, that is the best answer they could give. I believe this because they care enough about their time than give an excuse. Hearing “no” now is better than being disappointed later. 

Keep the people who understand your goals

When I’m asked when I’m free—I’m never free or have days off. Most don’t get it or find it unusual. As a creative, you find yourself having to schedule what you do, which is extremely important.

Set blocks of time during the week to create

So rather than filling up your time and exhausting all your ‘yes’ tokens, schedule time to focus on your goals. Say no to things that won’t help you grow right now.

Make Creating Something You Do

This is a mindset I talked about in my motivation post.

Say to yourself “this is something I do”.

Just how you go to your job, or go to the gym, make creating something you do daily.

Avoid letting your passion take a back seat.

I’ve found once I began to limit the amount of things I said yes to, I was able to grow and develop as a creative.

So do it, say no so you can:

  • Control the future version of yourself.
  • Make time to create meaningful work.
  • Say yes to great opportunities.
The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

–Warren Buffet


Three Actions You Can Take Right Now

  • Is there an illustration or piece of work you keep putting off? Pick a day next week to complete it. Better yet, complete the work right now.
  • The only person living 100% of your life is you. Create something today that you’ll be proud to publish.
  • When the urge to procrastinate starts to creep, discipline yourself to say no to this thing. 


Hope this week’s post has been useful! Just remember, your version of success is determined by the things you say no to.

Tweet me your thoughts! @jaytenart