Stress is often the byproduct of having a full plate, sometimes an overflowing plate. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that we have much choice about what goes onto our plate. We can choose where to devote our time, energy, and attention. Instead of saying yes to piling on our plate, we have the ability to say no.

The popular quote from Steve Jobs—“Innovation means saying no to 1000 things”—can tell us as much about managing stress as it does about innovation. Saying no to some things means saying yes to other things. It means triaging, preserving limited resources for what matters most.

Saying no is not about closing doors but instead about creating space for your most vital work to flourish.

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