The Importance of Saying No

The last few months I’ve said “no” a lot. No to posting, no to brand partnerships, no to activities that don’t genuinely interest me, no to doing things just because everyone else is doing them. And it’s been great. 

I think this is the longest break I’ve ever taken from publishing new content here on Styled by Skylar. My last post was on June 3rd, and if we’re being honest I didn’t have any plans or intentions of taking a break. It just kind of happened. Because, well, real life happened.

At the end of April I quit the job I moved to San Francisco for and two weeks later started a new job. Since then, I had my wisdom teeth removed (with some awful complications), Jess and I launched the crEATe project, and have had three very successful events with another one fast approaching, my oldest brother came to visit, I went to my first Giants game, made some wonderful new friends, explored new areas in and outside of San Francisco, ate too many good foods to list, and so much more.

But most importantly, the last couple months, I’ve been putting the emphasis on my real life rather than my digital life and in the process, realized how much better I felt saying no. I had the time to do things I’ve been wanting to do but couldn’t ever find the time for, I was able to experience places and events without feeling the need to capture every moment with my phone, and most importantly, I was able to regroup and focus my efforts on things that really matter to me.

I’ve always said that it’s important to be selfish, to put yourself first, but I hadn’t been doing that with my work. I’ve been feeling this way for awhile but taking time off helped me to carve out a more intentional and clear direction for the content I produce here.

First and foremost, is not to force it. At the end of the day, your blog or website or YouTube channel, etc. should be for you. It should be something you enjoy doing and not something you feel like you have to do. Again, being honest, I didn’t really have any content to publish over the last few months. No spectacular outfits or knock-out recipes, or anything that I felt deserved a full-length post outside of Instagram. And that’s ok.

Second, quality is always more important than quantity. I’ve never stuck to a “blogging schedule” or felt the need to post a specific number of posts per week. I’m much more interested in producing content that provides value and is actually meaningful in some way than posting the same, cookie-cutter content that everyone else is posting.

Third, value your time. Make sure that what you’re doing, whether it be for your blog or events you attend or how you spend your free time, is something that you enjoy. I’ve been asked to do a lot of things lately that take up a lot of my time, and before I agree to anything, I ask myself, “does this benefit me in some way?” Yes, I know how self-centered that sounds, but I honestly don’t care. Getting invited to events is cool, and yes occasionally that can lead to other opportunities, but when it starts to feel like you’re going to things or doing things just to post them to your Instagram story, or when you’re rearranging your entire schedule (and changing priorities) just to go to events, it’s probably time to reevaluate.

My philosophies when it comes to creating content are definitely different than most. And while I have a lot more to say on that topic, I’ll save that for a future post. I’ve really enjoyed this time off and think it’s incredibly important to do so every now and then. We can get so wrapped up in social media that we forget that life exists outside of our phones. The world won’t stop spinning if you go a few days without posting. Instagram isn’t going anywhere and neither is the internet.

So next time you’re asked to do something, invited somewhere, or are doing something because someone else says you should, try saying no. Loosen the reigns, take a step back, and live your damn life.

Photo by Trevor Royce Photography

  • Skylar I LOVE this post. Such a great reminder–I really needed this so thank you!

  • I totally like that post and fully agree with you as I feel pretty much the same way…I remember, when I was studying in France, our professors used to say: on devient pro le moment où on apprend à dire NON. And that is so true…

  • Justina Soof

    I recently went through some similar things, taking time to focus on my personal life and family and I’m just getting back to blogging. I’ve found a passion and I’m excited about it. Loving this post!

  • Good for you! Saying “no” is such a hard thing but so important to keep our sanity!

  • Johanna Keenan

    No is so important! It’s amazing to me how many people are taught that boundaries aren’t necessary and that yes and being polite are always the right answer. Good for you!