Do you know how to say no? I am REALLY good at saying “YES!” One day I glanced at the fridge and I noticed a little card I had picked up and its aim is to encourage the reader to think about his or her passions. Upon reading the card, I discovered three questions to contemplate. One of those questions was “What do you do well?” and my first thought was saying “YES!” So this is why I felt the need to talk about this topic!
While I was pregnant I knew I wanted to continue working in some capacity after my baby boy was born. After deciding I didn’t want to work full time, I started to look for alternatives that would provide me more free time to be home with my son. Instead, I went from 1 full time job to 4 part-time jobs, running around crazy, sleep deprived, and all while I continued to endure post-pregnancy brain (so forgetful!). After months and months of trying to “do it all” plus volunteer commitments…oh yeah…of course I said yes to those too…I finally realized I cannot do it all now, all at the same time.
How did I get to this place? It’s so simple! Right?!?! For example, I went to a “planning meeting”, where I was only going to give input, but ended up being a part of the leadership team in charge of starting a new Moms group at my church. Another example, a friend of mine referred me to a social media job and without hesitation I said “YES!” Needless to say, over committing my time is an easy trap to fall into for me.
I’m a person that will try my best to follow through with anything that I start. So after saying yes, there is no going back. Even if it stresses out my family and leaves me with little to no downtime, I will make it work. I started to ask myself “am I missing out on QUALITY moments by trying not to miss ANY moment?” For me the answer was YES.
Here’s what I’ve committed to try:
- Start saying “I need to ask my husband” before saying yes. Why? Because for me, he is the person who can accurately measure my stress level and point out a glaring lack of R & R in my life. Really this person can be anyone who is willing to tell you the truth. For me this has been a game changer!
- Think about what is really important to you. Is it volunteering at school, church events or taking on extra projects at work? Whatever it is for you, set a limit and make reasonable choices that are manageable. For me this means I may help the day of an event, but won’t be signing up for the planning committee.
- Set a limit on social functions. Booking more than 2-3 events on any given day is about enough to lead to toddler meltdowns or husband frustrations! Instead, look to schedule no more than 1-2 events per weekend. My friend is so good at this…and yes I envy her! Here is also another good reason not to book anything on Sunday’s.
- Say “No.” Simple as that. You don’t have to explain yourself. Really, you DON’T have to! People will respect that you set your boundary and stuck to it. But if they don’t, just remember that you’re not responsible for their project/event/party/etc. and they’ll figured out a way to manage without you.
Saying no and setting limits for work, volunteer and social time has made me feel more present at events and with my family. Now I can focus on one job, which means I can be more intentional with my time in the evenings with my son and husband. At social events I’m not clock watching to make sure I leave on time to get to the next place, but instead I can more fully enjoy the conversations and that builds better friendships. We all owe it to ourselves to slow down and take time to read a book, listen to a podcast, watch a movie, take a bath, or call a friend. You will thank yourself for it later!