* 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 BstormUK@aol.com