With today’s busy schedules, most people are stressed and overworked. Oftentimes, this happens because you say yes to everything. Some people say yes out of guilt. Others would just say yes because they are worried that the person may feel upset when you say no. But saying yes to everyone is a recipe for burnout. Learn how to say no to people who make demands on your time.

Here are 4 ways to say no to anyone without feeling guilty.

Have a reason ready

If you feel bad about saying no, you can always provide an excuse. If someone is trying to pressure you, you can tell that person about your other commitment. You may also use your family as an excuse. Try saying, “Thanks, but I promised my daughter that I’ll be watching her recital that Friday afternoon”.

Buy yourself some time

You don’t have to give an answer right away when someone is asking you a favor. Take a moment to think before you respond. If you really wanted to help but you’re not sure if you have the time to do so, just say, “Let me think about it and get back to you”. This prevents you from being rushed into a yes. Plus, it gives you enough time to check your schedule, as well as your feelings about saying yes.

Keep your response simple

If you’re unequivocably sure that the answer is no, just go ahead and say the word. Be firm and direct. Simply respond with “maybe next time”, “I don’t think so” or “not at this time”. There is no need to apologize or give an explanation if you decide to turn down a request. After all, you don’t always have to say yes to everything.

Be honest

Sometimes, it can be difficult to say no when a person keeps pestering you to do something. You may be tempted to tell a lie, but don’t.  This can threaten relationships, especially when you’re found out. Be clear about your concerns and why you’re refusing. If you really don’t want to do it, no one can force you to.

If you’re honest and straightforward, your family, friends, and colleagues would almost always understand.