Life coach: learn to say no

As the school year progresses, more and more people will be asking you to take on more and more work. One of the most important skills in keeping control over your life is learning to say no. Many people find this incredibly difficult. Here are five ways to make it easier:

* Warn about possible negative consequences. ("No, if I took that on, I'd never finish it by the time you need it.")

* Offer an alternative. ("No, but have you thought of asking Marie?")

* Apply pressure. ("No, but I've been meaning to ask you for help with my project.")

* Use humour. ("No, I'd be thrown out of Workaholics Anonymous if I took this on.")

* State a supporting value or belief that is important to you. ("No, I've made a commitment to spending more time with my spouse.") Be prepared: if you've been an easy mark in the past, initially they won't take no for an answer. The trick is to keep on saying no.

Jurgen Wolff is a hypnotherapist, teacher and writer. His most recent book is Do Something Different, published by Virgin Business Guides. His free monthly Brainstorm creativity e-bulletin is available from

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