For some people, it is hard to say no especially to clients. But you really have to learn the art of saying no to do away with so much work. Having too many commitments will make you less productive and will even make a bad impression on you as a designer. You should not accept projects when you are still occupied doing some. You should also be able to know the important and urgent things that you need to do. You don’t have to accommodate everyone that would like to take away some of your time.

You really cannot do away with requests from people and from clients. Some clients who know how good you are as a designer would really insist to let you do the work for them. But you are not available all the time. Hence, you have to reject some work. If you are finding it hard to say no to clients, here are some tips to help you.

1. Set priorities.

Set priorities
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Know your priorities. Know where you are really committed at. When something comes in out of the blue during your free time, you don’t really have to do it. You would not like to exchange quality time with your family from another work. You can tell your client that you could not do it that time but would be willing to do it some other time.

2. Value your time.

Value your time
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You would have time for particular things in life and for sure it is already laid well every day. You know what you will do for a day and you would not like to ruin your schedule. So, when you have commitments, you do not have to sacrifice it just because a client wants you to do something for him. Say no. Tell him that you had a previous commitment and you have so much work to do that day. If the client can wait, tell him when your available time is. Also, it is not good to say yes when you really can’t be there and you really won’t be able to do something.

3. Always be polite.

Always be polite
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When you say no, remain polite. Even if you are rejecting something, make sure that you still sound good that you will not hurt their feelings. Also, bear in mind that you don’t have to worry about anything when you say no so that you can have a firm decision.

4. Practice saying no.

Practice saying no
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If you got used to saying yes all the time, then you have to practice saying no. When persistent people keeps on pushing you, just continue saying no. If you get used to that, then you will not find it hard to say no the next time.

5. Don’t say sorry.

Don’t say sorry
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Usually, people would say sorry to begin saying no. But you do not have to do that. It would sound that you are not really firm to say no and that it is wrong to say no. It would also seem like you do not have a strong right by rejecting a project or a suggestion. So, avoid apologizing. Just be firm.

6. Avoid being always nice.

Avoid being always nice
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Nothing is wrong with being polite but when you always try to be nice even if you are sacrificing yourself is not good anymore. Do not make it easy for others to just take away your time whenever they want to. Show them that you have a firm hold of your time and you cannot do all their requests all the time.

7. Defer requests.

Defer requests
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You can also tell your clients that instead of doing the work now, you can do it some other time. But if they won’t agree with it, then let it go. You really don’t need to accept everything that comes to you. Nothing is wrong with rejecting some of them and deferring it for some other time.

8. Learn to look forward.

Learn to look forward
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Be able to determine if someone will request some work for you. This is one strategy in order to do away with some talking and explanations. You don’t need to say no to those who give some work to you which you cannot accept. Before that person can start telling you, you can give out some lines saying that you are busy and you could not do any extra work.

9. Appreciate it then say no.

Appreciate it then say no
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You may also try this strategy but giving compliments towards the person and the project. But you have to say that you could not do a particular job no matter how great the project is. But only do this if you are sincere about it.

10. Say yes before saying no.

Say yes before saying no
Image: shutterstock

You can start by saying yes first but then tell them that you won’t be able to do it. Say yes assuming that you are willing to do it and then consider some things that could give you enough reason to say no. Like, you give some additional things that they need to complete first before you can work on the project (make sure it is true) and then add that you are also busy at the moment. But say this if you are sincere of really wanting to work on the project if only you had enough time.

It’s Your Turn Now

It isn’t really hard to say no, right? You just need to get used to it. You also have to accept the fact that you could not say yes to everything all the time. Did we miss something in the list? If you wish to add some, feel free to do so. It can surely help others to be more assertive and determined to learn to say no.

Marvi Ocampo

About the author: Founder of a Despite her busy schedule, she always find time to read books, Photography and write articles during her spare time.


  1. there are things to consider when you are saying no. thanks for sharing these insights!

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