"Saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. 'Yes' is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes."

Stephen Colbert

Learning to say No is very important. Without that skill, we travel through our lives over-committing and under-delivering to our friends, our colleagues and our families. We find ourselves compulsively agreeing to a commitment or deadline through insecurity, or an unhealthy desire to please people. This will leave us stressed, unhappy and out of control. We know this.

In the past few months I’ve been very busy rushing around to all sorts of meetings, networking events and trips to London. I’d gotten really good at saying No.

Trouble was, I wasn’t saying Yes enough.

"I can't really pair with you today, I'm heading to a meeting in 15 minutes."

"Sorry, but I can't play that game now kids. Maybe we can do it tomorrow?"

"I don't think I can watch a film tonight darling, I've got to work."

These sound like clichés, but I’ve heard them coming out of my mouth a lot recently.

Making a change

This week I’ve found real pleasure saying things like:

"Yes, I'll take the kids to school."

"Yes I'll have lunch now." (rather than later, at my desk, when you're out).

"Yes, I'll do that today." (rather than fix it next week. Possibly).

The Pomodoro Technique is helping, because it’s allowing me to plan my time much better, but it’s also as simple (and as complicated) as letting go of Getting Everything Done Today.

Which do you find harder: saying No, or saying Yes?