TL;DR: In a world where we always say “yes” to everything, I schedule in “no” days to turn down anything I don’t want to do.
Do you say “yes” whenever your boss asks you to complete a last-minute project? Or go out with friends on the weekend when you’d rather sink into the couch and get lost in a good book? Do you commit to things you have no interest in because a friend or coworker asked you? Yeah, me too. All the time.
I’m not good at saying no. And I’m especially not good at saying no when it’s something I’m genuinely interested in, like writing. I love writing. I write for a living—whether for the company I work for full-time, my blog, or clients—I can’t get enough of it. So I say yes, over and over and over.
From exhaustion to rejuvenation
Sure, saying yes to everything is a great way to make money, but it’s also exhausting. Not the “I need a triple shot and a good night’s rest” tired—it’s the exhaustion that hangs over you all day, no matter how many cups of espresso you pour.
When I started falling asleep without realizing it, getting foggy, and being so exhausted that I couldn’t bear the thought of walking my dog or working out, I knew I needed to take a break. But I couldn’t just take a week-long vacation—I have clients I need to support. While I’m working on boundaries, I found something else that works for me: “no” days.
I intentionally schedule “no” days where I say “no” to everything I don’t want to do, like answering the phone, checking work messages, and taking business meetings on overcrowded days.
What I love about “no” days
It’s hard to take days off from work, let alone life. But that’s exactly why I do it. I need these off days. Here’s why:
- They let me push “pause” on thinking (and overthinking). I’m not strategizing a content strategy, thinking up witty copy, or brainstorming with clients. My mind is free to wander, and I have the space I need to supercharge my creativity.
- They give me time to get all the tension out of my body. As anyone with a stressful job knows, neck and shoulder tension—or in my case, tense hands and fingers—can build up, making your entire body uncomfortable. On my “no” days, I stretch, walk, and work out all those kinks. It’s a refresh for my body.
- They let me get the rest I need. With a full-time job and a thriving all things writing business, rest has become more of an afterthought than reality. On “no” days, I sleep in, waking up leisurely to cuddle with my pup. There’s no rush to log on for the day or answer emails—I do everything at a slow, comfortable pace.
- They let me say “yes” to everything else. “No” days are more than just turning down anything I don’t want to do. They’re about screaming an emphatic “yes!” to taking my dog on a long walk. I get to say “yes” to sleeping in and waking up to a warm cup of my favorite peppermint mocha. They allow me to do a full workout and stretching session. I say “yes” to reading my favorite or new books. I get to greenlight anything I want to do on my “no” days.
Today is a “no” day. I took my dog to the park to play in the fields and walk. I slept in, waking up to a delicious coffee smoothie. I got to write this blog leisurely (with no deadlines), and I am about to do my workout. I plan on spending the rest of the day reading and taking a long nap, wrapped in cozy blankets.
Now, doesn’t that sound amazing? And that is why I schedule “no” days every month!