The Productive Woman 008 – Saying No Gracefully [podcast]

_podcastTemplateDo you find it difficult to say no? I do. The desire to be liked or the sincere desire to help makes it easy to say yes, and sometimes we end up regretting it.

Listener Kelly Anne Liberto asked a question about this that got me to thinking, and in this episode I share some of what I learned in researching why we say yes, when it's okay to say no, and how we can say no without sacrificing relationships that matter to us.

Tip of the Week: Make good use of waiting time to tackle tiny tasks.

Tool of the Week: Bank apps for the smart phone! An amazing tool that lets you move money around, pay bills, and even deposit checks right on your phone. Most banks and credit unions have them these days, and I encourage you to give this tool a try if you're not already using it.

Topic of the Week: Saying No Gracefully

Why do we say yes?

  • We want to help
  • We want to be liked
  • To avoid conflict or confrontation
  • It feels good to be needed
  • FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • We have an unrealistic idea of what we can take on
  • Guilt – we feel like if we can, we should
  • It feels selfish to say no
  • We succumb to pressure

Good reasons to say yes?

  • Because we want to — we're truly enthusiastic about the opportunity
  • We've carefully evaluated it and it lines up with our values, objectives, and goals
  • To serve someone we care about

Why is it okay to say no?

  • It gives somebody else an opportunity to contribute
  • The ability to say a purposeful no is necessary for our yes to have any meaning

A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” ~ Gandhi

  • Sometimes saying yes would overtax your health, your time, your family
  • Saying no to some things (even good things) leaves room for better things
  • Your time is just as valuable as the time of the person who asks

Deciding whether to say yes or no

  • Don't give a reflex answer.
  • Weigh your options and limitations and get back to the asker.

We need to be okay with the fact that to some extent will cause some level of “pain” for the asker (but there are ways to minimize that)

Ways to minimize the damage of our no

  • Be certain of your answer
  • Be respectful of the person who asked
  • Show kindness and compassion
  • Give an explanation or reason if possible — but don't get drawn into a debate. You don't have to justify your no.
  • Make sure if you say you're going to call them later, you actually do it
  • If necessary, practice saying no in front of a mirror until you can do it in a way that's kind but firm


Saying No Gracefully,” by Isadora Alman, MFT,, July 13, 2010.

How to Say ‘No' Gracefully,” by Beth Levine,

Saying No Gracefully,” by Lisa Kovalovich, Ladies Home Journal online.

How to Graciously Say ‘No',”

Learn to Say No,”

The Halfhearted Yes: Why We Don't Say No and How to Start,” by Sonya Derian on

Why So Many People Just Can't Say No,” by Hank Davis, Psychology Today online, March 10, 2014.

7 Simple Ways to Say No,” by Celestine Chua, Zen Habits, August 3, 2010.

When to Say Yes and When to Say No,” Jill Kemerer blog, August 11, 2014  — great insight for people of faith.


What about you? When is it hard for you to say no? Do you have a suggestion for a solution or approach that I missed? Please share your thoughts or suggestions in the comments.


Subscribe to The Productive Woman in iTunes or subscribe in Stitcher, and join the conversation at The Productive Woman on Facebook.

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

The Productive Woman 007 – Perfectionism & Productivity [podcast]

_podcastTemplateHaving high standards is a good thing. Striving for excellence is a good thing. But taken to extremes, these can become perfectionism, which can paralyze us and prevent us from accomplishing the things that matter to us. The key is to find that balance that lets us enjoy the process and the results of our efforts.

Tip of the Week: Take advantage of online shopping to save time and energy.

Tool of the Week: The Organizing Store (online resource for accessories and tools to organize your space).


  • What is it?
  • What impact does it have?
  • How can we overcome it?

A few resources for more information:

14 Signs Your Perfectionism Has Gotten Out of Control,” by Carolyn Gregoire, on The Huffington Post.

Perfectionism Test, Psychology Today online.

Psych Basics: Perfectionism, Psychology Today online.

4 Difficulties of Being a Perfectionist,” by Jennifer Kromberg, PsyD, Psychology Today blog, November 7, 2013.

Perfectionist Traits: Do These Sound Familiar? Are Too-High Expectations Wrecking Your Inner Peace?” by Elizabeth Scott, M.S., updated June 3, 2014.

Your turn: Has perfectionism (or simple fear of failure) ever made you miss out on an opportunity? Do you have a suggestion for how to blast past perfectionism and get things done? Please share your thoughts in the comments section under this post.

How else can you participate?

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

The Productive Woman 006 – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieving Our Goals [podcast]

_podcastTemplateEven if we go through an intentional process of setting our goals, we might face obstacles in our efforts to actually achieve them. Being prepared for those obstacles helps us overcome them. In this episode we continue our discussion of goal-setting, looking at some of the obstacles that may interfere and some of the things we can do to overcome those obstacles.

Tip of the Week: Use a timer to motivate yourself (or your kids?) to get started on a task you've been putting off, or stay focused on one task when many others fight for attention.

Tool of the Week: – a website and app (iOS and Android) to help you develop good habits that will move you toward accomplishing your goals.

Topic of the Week: Obstacles–and how to overcome them

  1. Choosing the wrong goals.
  2. Fear (of failure . . . or of success).
  3. Overcommitment.
  4. Perfectionism and unrealistic expectations.
  5. Disorganization and/or poor time management.
  6. Lack of support (or self-sabotage).
  7. Physiological issues.

Some general steps to help keep you on the right path:

  • Review your goals regularly — several times a day.
  • Schedule an appointment with yourself each week to review and re-evaluate your goals and the progress you've made — celebrate even the tiniest step in the right direction!
  • Keep yourself motivated
    • Put a note on your computer screen or bathroom mirror:

What have you done today to make your dreams come true?

    • Collect inspirational quotes – create an inspiration/motivation board on Pinterest. See some quotes I like on my Inspiration board and my Food for Thought board.
    • Find an accountability partner.

Your turn: What obstacles do you struggle with when trying to achieve your goals? Can you share a tip — something that helps you overcome one of these obstacles and make progress?

Don't forget to subscribe to The Productive Woman in iTunes or on Stitcher, and join the conversation at The Productive Woman on Facebook.

I look forward to getting to know you!

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

The Productive Woman 005 – A Step by Step Process for Setting Goals [podcast]

Continuing our series on goal-setting, this week we talk about a step-by-step process for setting goals.


Tip of the Week:

Don't rely on your memory. Make it easy to write things down when you think of them, so you don't have to use energy or attention trying to remember or worrying about forgetting.

Tool of the Week:

Drafts for iOS. A great app that lets you quickly capture any thought or idea and either save it for later processing, or send it immediately to your calendar, task manager, or any of a dozen other places. It's for iOS only, but there are some Android-friendly alternatives to Drafts.

Topic of the Week: A process for setting goals

  1. Choose a time (or series of times) when you can spend some undisturbed time focusing on this process.
  2. Gather some materials – notebook and pen, calendar, beverage of choice, notes from your session spent identifying your key roles and relationships, your guiding principles (listen to episode 2 for more about this).
  3. Spend a few minutes praying, meditating, or whatever you do to calm, quiet, and focus your mind.
  4. Review your priorities/guiding principles–the areas you've identified as important. Look at the long-term objectives you've identified.
  5. Consider your calendar. Given your schedule, commitments, and obligations, how much time can you realistically devote to pursuing new goals?
  6. In each of your key roles/relationships, where do you want to be a year from now? Convert the general objective into a SMART goal.
  7. For each of these long-term (year) goals, brainstorm steps to get to the outcome you want.
  8. Take a break, then come back and review your list. Which goals to you have the resources (time, energy, enthusiasm, money, etc.) to pursue now?
  9. Choose no more than 3-5 goals to focus on at a time. Try for balance–don't focus on one area to the detriment of other priorities, but respect the season of life you're in.
  10. Make sure you have a meaningful why for each goal you choose: why this? and why now?
  11. Save the list of the others; you'll come back to them later.
  12. Write them down and keep them handy, so you can review them daily, refine them as you go along.

A helpful resource: The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want, by Mike Vardy.

What about you?

Can you add to or improve the goal-setting process I've described? Share your suggestions, or your questions, in the comments.


Remember to “like” The Productive Woman on Facebook, and subscribe to The Productive Woman in iTunes or on Stitcher. And you can help others find The Productive Woman by leaving a review in iTunes.

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me