It’s OK to Say No; 4 Simple Ways to Avoid Over Committing

Are you familiar with that daunting feeling that you have no idea how you’ll get everything done and meet everyone you said you’ll meet? It’s terrible; sometimes just thinking about that list of things you have to do is exhausting enough.

Yet, at the same time, you’re the one to blame, right? You’re the one who agreed to all that stuff in the first place. But why? Why do we all do this to ourselves? Why is saying no so hard? And how can you change that?

Overcommitting is common among humans. We feel this urge to help others out, to place others’ need before our own. That can’t be such a terrible thing, right? Well, yes and no. The problem with this is that we tend to drive ourselves to exhaustion, we stretch ourselves beyond our capacities and this eventually leads to frustration, exhaustion, burnout, stress, and anxiety.

So, what can you do about it?

1. Learn how to say no
Sometimes, it’s ok to admit that you can’t take anything else on your plate. You have to be honest with yourself and establish some limits. More importantly, you need to respect them, even if this means turning down dinner with friends or a business opportunity.

2. Keep a calendar
You can use your phone, your computer, or an agenda. Whatever works for you, make sure you keep track of what you need to do, where, and when. This will help you visualize what you’re committing yourself to and provide you with a path to follow. It’ll also help you plan ahead of time.

3. Delegate
If you’re a leader in your organization or part of a team, make sure you rely in those around you to fulfill important tasks and reach milestones. Trust those you work with and give everyone tasks and responsibilities. Consider using collaboration tools like Asana, Trello, and Slack to keep up with all projects and deadlines.

 4. Draw a line between your personal and professional lives
Technology has blurred the line between work and life, however it’s important that you set a line between them. Establish some rules that work for you, like no emails before 6:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m.; no work on Sundays, etc. Also, if you work from home, think about joining a coworking space to help you better balance work and life.

Power off
Just like phones and computers need to be turned on and off when they aren’t functioning as they should, humans also need to power off and take a break. Otherwise, you’ll just burn yourself out and you won’t be as productive and efficient as you normally would.


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