Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is say one simple word — “no.” As a result, we end up overworked and overwhelmed by the many obligations we’ve taken on. Even if we’re taking on only good things, the many obligations tend to add up, and the outcomes aren't always worth the sacrifices.
Here are five simple and adequate reasons to put aside guilt and say “no.”
1. Your time is valuable. Some people try to take on more than they can handle because they assume that their time isn’t as valuable as that of others. This is not true. The way you spend your time is infinitely important to your well-being. Learn to value your time by declining to do things that don’t fit well into your family’s schedule.
2. Your happiness (and your sanity) is important. If you have too many obligations, something is going to have to go. If your workload is overwhelming to you, you aren’t doing anyone (especially your family) any favors by being miserable. Alexander Kjerulf, the Chief happiness officer of positivesharing.com, gives 10 reasons why happiness bolsters productivity at work. Among these reasons are that happy people work better with others, are more creative, have more energy and tend to fix problems rather than create them. By taking care of your happiness first, you allow yourself to stretch in a good, not a harmful way.
3. Control is crucial. One of the quickest ways to lose control and ensure chaos in your life is to say “yes” to everything. At times, saying “yes” is good, but when you have too many responsibilities, you may start to lose your grip, giving you the sensation that you are drowning in an ever-building ocean of responsibility. And you aren’t helping anybody if you are drowning in the very task that you agreed to do.
4. You are not the only one capable of completing a task. If someone asks you to do something that you don’t feel comfortable with, you shouldn’t feel obligated to do it. A good way to get out of this situation is to suggest that someone else who may be more qualified complete the task at the time. Maybe your mom can make your son’s Halloween costume, or perhaps you should let your neighbor coach your kid’s baseball team. You may have time to do these things later, but don’t feel guilty about saying no if you’re not feeling up to it at the time.
5. You are number one. If you try to put everyone else’s needs before your own and your family’s, eventually, you are going to run out of steam. Plan time for yourself so you won’t be tempted to say “yes” to something you don’t have the energy to do. After you’ve taken care of yourself, you can go out and change the world.
Even with five ready-made reasons to say “no,” it can still be difficult to do so. You may even think it’s easier to overburden yourself than to relieve yourself of certain duties. However, practice makes perfect if you are willing to give it a chance. Done correctly, saying “no” is one of the most efficient ways to reduce clutter from your life; but more importantly, it gives you the extra boost you need to take care of the things that matter most — you and your family.
A graduate of Brigham Young University, Angela is a writer, editor and overall lover of words. She blogs at palydudeman.blogspot.com.
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