Learning how to say no to someone may be difficult for you to do because you don't want to reject the request of a person and make him/her feel bad about it.
However, do you know that it is sometimes important to do it because it can save you time which you would need for other tasks that are urgent and more significant.
When you have to refuse the request or asking of the favor of your close friend, co-worker or boss it becomes more difficult this is because you fear that you won’t get favors from them the next time when you really need it.
You know yourself that work and career are important so you want to avoid making things uneasy for you. You must learn to do right and "ethical" ways of how to say no to a person to make you and the other person feel both comfortable even if you can't fulfill their needs right now because your time is currently not available.
Learning to say no would need a reason why you're going to do it. If you don't have a valid reason for it, it may only appear that you're making excuses or just being lazy to help. For example, you may say something like, "I would like to help you with your assignment, but the deadline of my project is getting close and I may not have sufficient time to complete it."
You should say it in a proper manner and if it's your intention to truly help then you should express it to the person at the same time showing that you can't do it at present because of your circumstances. Remember that if you always misuse your excuses just to avoid requests you may get caught later as "lying" to the other person just for your personal advantage.
You should show respect while refusing, you should not do it harshly or "tactless." How to say no would require that you do it with grace and respect because in a way it’s still a rejection of a request.
You may give "compensation" or an alternative later, you can say something like, "As soon as I'm done with this activity I will help you gladly." This is a way of saying that you can't make the request or favor right now but you would like to do it later.
This would sound better to the other person asking you about something. You should be as honest and sincere as possible when doing it. You may also say something like, "I can't help you right now sorting the papers, but I can help you do the laundry later."
This is showing something like you can't help the person right now because you really can’t but you can help with something else at another time to make up for it.
Remember that if you always use excuses and never even show that you really mean to make up for it, you can get caught and thought of being a liar or someone who doesn’t give importance to that person.
Priorities are primary and they should be given enough time. When something needs to be done without interruption or if your time is limited, this would be one of the best times to apply the proper principles of "how to say no" to someone. This is because you have a purpose to fulfill which without doing you might find yourself in trouble later.
When you need to finish something soon you'll need most of your time and energy for it, that's why it would be unfavorable for you to get distracted or diverted with other things unless there’s an exception for you to give way.
Learning how to say no is an art and it should be "backed up" with proper reasons otherwise it might not work well for you and the other person might think that you simply don't want to help for some reason.