Many women who are on the never ending journey of creating balance in their lives often complain that they are overwhelmed and feel a lot of stress and anxiety because “there never seems to be enough time to do everything”.
I often laugh and say, “Of course you’re going to be overwhelmed if you try to do everything!” The key to reducing stress and anxiety is to learn to say “no”. Now, opting out of things has to be done very mindfully and strategically in order for it to to work. Saying “no” randomly and arbitrarily often leads to guilt and shame which are just as bad as stress and anxiety. Think about it; you say “no” because you’re too overwhelmed and stressed but you still end up with another set of negative feelings; guilt and shame.
Below are three keys to use so that when you say that one word, no, it is a quality “no” devoid of negativity, guilt and shame. If you use the keys below, you can begin to say “no” from a place of confidence.
1. Plan – It is a good idea to plan as much as you can. Plan your professional and personal life s much as you can and follow your plan. You don’t have to be rigid about your plan(s) but it gives you a sense of order and clarity about what you’re doing. If you put your priorities in a plan, it becomes easier to opt-out (say “no”) to things that are not moving you towards your goals.
2. Organize – Your plan should be some kind of list of things you want to get done. Re-write your list in order of priority. Make a habit of creating order in your life, taking your priorities into consideration. Create systems that work for you and your loved ones and tweak them accordingly. When you plan and organize, you tend to be more firm when pushing back at things that will create disorder and chaos. You’ve put in the work to plan your day, (or week, or month) and you deserve the peace that comes with it.
3. Schedule – Make a daily/weekly schedule and make sure that your priorities are the first things on the schedule. Scheduling is an excellent tool because it clarifies what you’re doing and when and has the added benefit of making it clear when you have taken on a lot or too much. A quick glance at your schedule makes it easier to get to the right answer (No) much more quickly and confidently.
Another key thing to remember is that just because something seems urgent, it does not mean it is important. If it was not on your list of priorities and was not planned and scheduled, then you should probably turn it down.
Nomalanga is a Life Balance Expert. Her speaking and coaching programs help busy women who struggle to balance Marriage, Motherhood and Money-Making™. Nomalanga is an experienced instructor, author and avid blogger.