How to Free up Time by Saying “no”

I’m really proud to say that I don’t spend much time anymore doing things I don’t want to do.  Now I’m not talking about the things that have to be done that you don’t always feel like doing (like work or folding laundry). I’m talking about the things that you say yes to because you feel guilty or obligated.  It may be volunteering for your child’s school trip when you really have your plate way too full at work, signing up to make homemade cookies for your bookclub when you know you will have to stay up way too late the night before baking them, or even just drinks with a friend or colleague you just don’t love hanging out with anymore because all they do is complain about the same old things.   It is my opinion that WAY too many people commit to things without asking themselves if they even want to do it in the first place or if they are simply saying yes to please someone else.

How to do it:

-Don’t say yes or no to anything on the spot, always say you need to check your calendar.

-Be honest.  Do you feel overwhelmed by all your commitments on a regular basis?  Then simply say you are feeling overwhelmed right now and just can’t take on another thing.

-Say you need some alone time.  When friends ask me to do something but I just don’t want to do it and I can’t use the excuse of too much to do (for example, it’s Saturday night and they know me well enough to know I’m not actually working). I tell them I just need to recharge and sit alone in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn and the remote.

-Don’t create excuses.  Women, especially in this day and age, feel like we always need to explain. You don’t need to tell someone what you are doing instead or list all of the other work or commitments you already have.  Just a simple ‘I can’t swing it, so sorry’ will do.  I know it will feel hard to say at first but once you get used to it, its awesome.

-Find an alternative solution.  The above choices are great but if it’s a bit more serious you may need to employ this last tactic.  Let’s say you have a new client who has already paid a deposit but you realize after the first hour they are not a great fit and it will be painful on your end to complete the job.  In this case it’s not just as easy as saying let me check my calendar and then saying you have too much on your plate.  Find another provider who you think would be a good fit and have their info ready for them when you break the news.  Simply tell them that you are not a great fit for whatever the reason (be honest!) in the most diplomatic way you can.

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