top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Arts VA

No… 5 Times When it is OK to Say No

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

Whether it's accepting every offer of work or helping people when you don’t have time for your own things, that two-letter word can be very hard to say. However, the more you say it, the more natural and comfortable you will feel saying no to things you don’t want to do. Here we look at some occasions when you should be saying no…

woman holding two letters spelling 'no'

When the work doesn’t feel right

When you work for yourself, it can be very tempting to take every job offer that comes your way. Before saying yes though, think about whether it is the right fit for you and your business.

If it doesn’t feel right or you don’t feel you’re the right person for the job, it could end up adding more stress and worry in the long term and also take you away from things that are more important to you. While it can feel uncomfortable saying no, it’s an important skill to learn at work so that you prioritise things that really matter.

When you’re not being paid enough

When it’s time to negotiate a deal, make sure you don’t lose sight of what you want. If you have a figure in mind, then try to stick as close to it as possible. Talking about money can be awkward but it’s important to value your time and skills - check out our tips for handling deal negotiations.

It’s OK to take less money if you feel you will gain something else, such as a new skill, as long as you feel like you got the best deal at the end of the negotiations.

When you don’t have time

Saying yes to everything will not only leave you stressed and overwhelmed, but with very little or no time for anything else. This could end up having a huge impact on your work and personal life.

We only have so much time each day to get things done so if you already have a long to-do list it will be impossible to fulfil every request that comes in. This means sometimes having to say no - it doesn’t always have to be a hard no, you can discuss doing it another day, but make sure you’re certain you will have the time, otherwise you could end up back at square one.

When you’re on holiday

No matter how much we love our jobs, we all need time off. Taking a break helps us recharge and refocus, which can improve productivity at work. However, with easy access to our emails through our phone and mobile devices, it’s very hard to switch off completely.

Before taking time off, make sure to plan ahead and communicate with your team and clients. Then, if a request for work comes in, you know you have done everything you can to prepare the business for your time away. It’s important to prioritise your own needs so work doesn’t impact on your personal life. If you’re worried, you can always arrange a meeting for when you get back.

When it goes against your values and beliefs

A big part of running a successful business is knowing your beliefs and values. If something goes against your moral principles, say no. Set boundaries and stick to them so that you set the right tone for your business and can be proud of your achievements and the work you do.

When you say no, try to be firm. You can offer a brief explanation but politely getting straight to the point will prevent any confusion. If you find any of this difficult, a VA can help you distance yourself from awkward conversations.

The Arts News

  • Check out the latest vacancies at The Royal Court Theatre. There are a range of roles available, including Front of House Usher and Deputy Director of Open Court, as well as Bar and Floor Supervisor. For more info, head to the theatre’s website.

  • West End musica Cabaret has won three Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, including best actress for Jessie Buckley. Other winners include Cush Jumbo for her performance as Hamlet, Spring Awakening, which won best musical, and Best of Enemies, which took home best new play.

Get in touch!

If you want to find out how a VA can help your business, head to our contact us page to arrange a chat with Charlie. Did you find this advice useful? You can read more business tips in these blogs:

bottom of page