Workplace Hack: The No Thanks Journal

To be productive, you need to focus on what matters. Unfortunately, this often means having to say “no”.


However saying no isn’t always as easy as it sounds. I regularly get approached with opportunities I find interesting and, unfortunately, I can’t commit to everything. And then there are the times I have to say no because I’m just not interested, without offending the person who offered.

While it often seems easier and more agreeable to say “yes”, saying no is one of the best productivity tips I’ve ever been given.

When I came across non-profit speaker, author and writer Beth Kanter’s No Thanks Journal idea on LinkedIn, I knew I’d found something special.

To follow this workplace hack, keep a journal of all the times you say no to an opportunity. Make notes about the opportunity, how you said no, why you said no and how the person responded when you declined their offer. Kanter also recommends recording instances where you have said yes when you should have said no.

Reflecting on the ways you said no, and how people responded to it, will help you to understand the best language for declining offers in the future. Kanter also found that looking back through the journal helped her to understand that nothing terrible happened when she said no, making her more able to say it again in the future.

How do you say no? Share your experiences in the comments below.


This hack is part of a series of weekly workplace hacks that teaches you about collaboration, productivity and time saving tips. Published every Wednesday.

Photo Credit: marc falardeau via Compfight cc