May 30, 2013

When is it Time to Say No?

For each of us, the answer to that question will be different. For myself, the time to say no came this spring. It took me a long time from knowing I needed to reduce my time spent working to actually taking steps to make changes.

The truth was that even though I knew I needed to pare down, there was nothing I really wanted to give up. And there were a couple of things I wanted to pick up yet!

Reality sets in and we no longer have choices. An injury, a spring garden and an undiagnosed internet problem forced my hand. When it came down to it, here is how I decided what to let go:
  • determine how many hours I needed to clear
  • keep all the volunteer projects I was involved in that are too far in process to replace me easily
  • build open time into my schedule for new clients
  • take a look at what volunteer activities are left and how much time they take vs. what I had left in my reduced schedule
  • this left me with 3 logical choices of activity to let go
From there, it was easy to determine which of the 3 provided me the best opportunity to help people or to make business connections. I let two of them go and kept the third. I've already noticed the difference in my stress level.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to take stock of what is eating up your time and pick just one thing to say no to.

Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on May 28, 2013

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