How To Say No


How to say no to a project at work.

Thanks for thinking of me for [project]. However, I’m going to have to turn this down.

I want to ensure I continue to do my best with my existing workload and my plate’s a little too full for me to be able to take this on right now.

I don’t do non-transactional meetings. I don’t do meetings without a strict agenda. I don’t do meetings unless we absolutely have to.

I have been trying to do too much of late, which makes it hard to keep up with correspondence. I also have to admit I am not good at saying no, because I enjoy meeting people and discussing new ideas. Unfortunately, the truth is that I am maxed out and need to take a step back.

Over the next few months, I will not be taking any new calls or meetings outside of my existing commitments to my business, family and myself. This will give me the energy and time I need to complete some big projects (such as finishing my second book) and be more successful in reaching my most important goals.

How to say no to a written interview.

First, thank you so much for thinking of me for this opportunity! Unfortunately, my calendar is completely full right now so I'm not going to be able to do this.

I can offer my work as an alternative. You are welcome to share quotes from Atomic Habits or my articles with your audience. I know this isn't quite what you were hoping for, but I'd like to think that his work will be useful to your audience all the same.

I'm sorry I don't have better news. Thank you for understanding and we wish you continued success.

Want more templates?

My schedule has been crazy lately, and these days, email is usually more convenient for me instead of the phone. Would you mind if we kept the discussion here?

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to [Event] on [date]. But thanks again for sending an invitation my way.

Thank you so much for getting in touch. It is so flattering that you would want me to be part of your business/plan/project/team. Unfortunately, I need to say no to your request.

At the beginning of each year, I calculate / I have to be careful how many hours I can dedicate to free and voluntary work requests. I have already filled the slots I have available for this year / I don’t have any time available at this point. I would be happy to discuss taking this on as a paid project for you but I can’t offer the work for free.

If budget is the issue, could I suggest maybe [posting your request in this Facebook group / reading this article / diy-ing it with this free online tool]?

Again, I am so grateful that you considered me for this and I hope there is a way we can work together in the future.

We're pushing really hard right now to move forward on [INSERT PROJECT], but let's definitely reconnect in the future.

Got another great example? Submit here

Unfortunately, I’m not able to attend because of prior scheduling—but please keep me updated with action items I may be able to help with.

How to say no because you need to create.

If you're trying to reach out to say hello or say something nice you should @ me on Twitter, I try to respond to as many posts as possible.

If you have a question about making videos or want to share something you made with me or anything like that I would also direct you to Twitter. I know that's not as satisfying as sending a direct email but my inbox is a big fat mess and when I made it public there were too many messages to respond so they just went unread - that sucks for everyone.

If you are in NYC and want to connect personally or have a business idea you want to talk to me about or want a couple minutes of my time on the phone or in person or if you want to connect for a quick selfie or anything that involves a commitment of time, any amount of time, I very very gently have to say no.

Saying no is hard. There are so many extraordinary circumstances that should warrant me saying yes, but I can't. It's a hard, inflexible no.

Family comes first, work second and whatever is left over I like to use for me which is usually going to the gym or running. There is no time left for yes. Even if that means missing opportunities.

Paul Graham really nails why saying yes for a quick coffee can be so destructive to the creative process - give this a read to understand the maker's schedule.

My dear friend Ryan Holiday penned this pointed essay to everyone who asks for just a little of your time. It's brilliant, I wish I'd written it.

I am sorry for no, but it's not without reason.

Thanks so much for emailing - that's a great question. I could definitely see how you would want to have [INSERT FEATURE].

Right now, we don't have anything like that in place, so it is just manual. That being said, we've heard that request quite a bit so maybe we will do so in the future. I'll speak with our engineering team about this, and they'll reach out if they have any other questions.

1. My Blog and Podcast. I have numerous articles and podcast episodes on [topic] available on my site. You can find them all by using the Search feature at the top of each page.

2. Coaching. Rather than one-on-one coaching, I offer mentorship to growing business leaders through our BusinessAccelerator. There you can get personal access during the live events, plus peer mentoring from other high achievers, and much more.

3. Live Events. The best current expression of my thoughts on this subject is delivered in The Focused Leader, a 1-day intensive that will give you hours of direct access to my live teaching.

Unfortunately I now get so much mail that I can't promise to respond to every one. I know this seems obnoxious, but I notice I have mails in my inbox that are two years old. I'm probably never going to respond to them, and I may as well admit it.

I respond faster to emails that are short. Two-liners I often reply to immediately. Long emails I leave in my inbox to deal with later, and never do.

When people want to meet or talk on the phone, a good trick is to start the conversation immediately, in the medium they used to ask you.

I appreciate you reaching out about [POSITION]. But, I’m not currently looking to explore other opportunities.

As CEO, I do not get directly involved in the hiring process except in very rare instances, such as filling a key opening on our Executive Leadership Team or on my own staff.

Nevertheless, I can tell you how to get started. First, visit our careers page here.

This page contains a list of all job openings currently available at Michael Hyatt & Company. Click on the job that interests you and then read the full job description. If you are still interested in the job, follow the steps outlined there to submit your application.

Once you have done so, someone in our Human Resources Department will review your application and take the appropriate action. If you can’t find a position that interests you, you might want to check back later, as these job postings are updated regularly.

Best on your job search, whether that leads you here or elsewhere. Again, thank you for honoring us with your interest in joining our company.

As humans, we're wired to construct our worldviews based on what we pay attention to. We're the calculus of that. All of my time is devoted to deep work, and I'm a terrible correspondent for that reason.

What I've learnt from my working years thus far is that productivity is non-linear. And therefore, I'd like to make clear that my time and attention is spoken for.

If you wish to get in touch still, you can on Twitter or LinkedIn (please send a note here before sending a request),but with discretion. Unless it's a clear agenda, you will not be getting any replies.

It’s awesome that you have decided to buy our product! We cannot wait to have you on board. I spoke to our implementation expert about your use case and he is ready to help you get started right away.

As for your discount request, I’m sorry to say that we don’t offer discounts. We believe that our service offers more value for your money and it will be unfair to our other customers if we make an exception.

I had a nice time the other night and I think you’re a really great person, but I just don’t think we’re a good match.