It’s important we learn to say no to others so that we don’t spread ourselves too thin.

If we don’t then we get sucked into other people’s agendas.

I’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years. I used to say yes to every request, invite or need that came my way. But then I got mentored by someone who taught me the value of being able to say “thanks but no thanks.”

It freed me up big time. I took control of my time and my life and it was great!

But here’s my struggle these days: I’m good at saying no to others but bad at saying no to myself. Especially when it comes to new ideas, projects or business ventures.

For example, my first year as a full-time freelance copywriter I had the bright idea of starting my town’s first hyperlocal media website, The Battle Ground Buzz.

It was great. I developed relationships with the Mayor, the City Council, business and civic leaders… and I also wasted a ton of time I should have spent on copywriting. And my income suffered. 🙁

If it wasn’t for my wife I may have spent another couple years as the Editor of the Buzz and gone completely broke. But she reminded me that while people are willing to pay me good money to write copy the Buzz, on the other hand, has generated approx. $0 for us.

Good point Babe. So I focused on copywriting again.

The Buzz was an extreme example of my struggle to say no to myself. But smaller projects and ideas still slip through the cracks and derail me slightly.

So I have to constantly filter these ideas out and ask if it’s the right time for this “good idea” or not.

For example, right now I feel excited to really start coaching other aspiring freelance copywriters. I’m coaching my sister-in-law right now and I got an email from a guy in Singapore last week who asked me to mentor him.

So my mind immediately starts thinking about the future of what this could turn into and how I need to create content and courses for freelancers… and just like that “boom” I’m off to the races!

Here’s the only problem: it’s not the right time to create a course for freelance copywriters. I’m already booked solid with copywriting work and I’m also building a new platform for financial advisors with a partner.

I need to focus on this new business I’m launching before starting ANYTHING else!

But it’s hard to say no to what I think are “good ideas.” So that’s why I trick myself and just say “not right now.”

If you struggle with this then try it out. Just tell yourself, “Not right now, maybe later.”