We are in a season where activities and demands are picking up. There are more schedules to manage and pulls on our time. In general, we want to be helpful and accommodating to people. Therefore we hate to say “NO”. People often do anything to avoid this word. We will avoid people, redirect conversations, make excuses, be non-committal or simply say “YES” to things we know we will have a hard time following through on. Reality is we simply cannot do everything. When we keep saying “YES” to things we are adding “stuff” to our “plate” which causes overwhelm, stress and frustration. Even though we would like to answer “YES” to everything, in order to have a peaceful life which exhibits quality, balance and basic sanity, we must learn how to say “NO”.
How do you do it? When you say “YES” to a new activity, you have to say “NO” to remove something else that is already on your full plate. Here is how:
- Be clear on your priorities and what is important. If you are not clear, you will not have a compelling reason to say “NO” when you feel drawn to accept a new item on your plate. Try to strike a balance with the “Essential 8”: family, friends, work, health, budgeting, fun, physical space (home, office, car), and personal growth (spiritual, educational, personal development).
- Set filters for each of your Essential 8 areas. You want to have your Essential 8 listed by priority and set a filter for each (take the purpose/goal for each area and then be clear on what fits and what does not). Take special note of the proportion each area is getting.
- Evaluate what is on your plate. Considering each of the Essential 8 areas and your priorities, determine what your “needs” are. “Should’s” need to move to one side of the fence. Do you need it or not? Consider your balance so you have some big projects (meat), some personal care (veggie), some daily necessities (good grain/filler), and a hobby/fun thing (dessert). These are the things to which you are saying “YES!”
- Say “NO” to the things that do not meet your filters. These may be the least important things on your list OR new things that come up in your life. Remember whenever you say “YES,” you are saying “NO” to something.
When you say “NO” you have more power to say “YES” to what is important. Remember “NO” can mean “never,” it can also mean, “no, not right now”. Let yourself have some space to do what is important. You will experience the power of balance and boundaries which will result in you being more effective and productive. You will enjoy less stress and more peace with your life.
Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com