It’s OK to say “No”

Have you ever found yourself trying to make plans with a friend, just play with the kids, or do something fun for yourself, only to find your planner so full that “maybe next month” is the best you can do?  If so, you probably have that old Ado Annie syndrome…you’re “just a girl who cain’t say no.”  We all want to feel like great parents, accomplished at work, and like we’re giving back to the community.  It is human nature to want success and to please others. It’s good to feel that way – to be ambitious, to be busy, and to get things done.  But how much is too much?  “Yes” is a good thing – in moderation.

Productivity doesn’t mean filling every moment of every day with tasks that further some agenda.  Prepare yourself for upcoming burnout if your schedule is so full that there isn’t time for family, friends and yes – YOU.  Because you are good at what you do, people will always ask for your help and your input.  They want you to join another board, sew the costumes for the school play, or write the homeowner’s association newsletter.  Just because your calendar has a blank spot, it doesn’t mean you have to say “yes” when someone wants to fill that time.

Look at your priorities and take the time to set boundaries for yourself so that you only take on the tasks and activities you truly can and want to complete.  What activities on your task list can you outsource?  What can you eliminate completely?  You know you’re going to get a call or email soon saying “will you…?”  Be prepared.  Take a deep breath and say it with me – “No.” See – it wasn’t that hard, was it?  Well, it may take some practice, but you CAN do it!

It’s OK to say “no” without guilt and without apology.  Give yourself that permission right now.  Your time is valuable. You simply have to leave some of it for yourself to enjoy those things in life which bring you pleasure and joy.  That’s the kind of time that is the juice which “recharges your battery” so that when you are on task you can be productive.  Give yourself the gift of some time.  You’re worth it.
(C) 2008 Laura Stack.  All rights reserved.