When it comes to achieving balance, it’s easy to assume that clearing your calendar is the first step to take. But while being able to say ‘no’ is an important skill to have, there’s more to finding balance than declining whatever comes up. Equally important to being able to say ‘no’ is knowing when to do so.
Instead of simply saying no, create a structure that you can use to weigh the viability of different opportunities. This will give you a gauge that you can use to measure the importance of each task that comes up, allowing you to create balance.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at ways to create a structure that you can use to assess different opportunities, allowing you to easily know which ones you should say yes to, and which ones you may want to pass on.
Tony Gaskins, motivational speaker, author, and life coach says, “You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop and what you reinforce.” When it comes to saying yes, the same concept applies. In many ways, we’re responsible for those extra projects that we choose to take on, and the number of events that we sign up for. Start claiming back your time by setting boundaries with others as well as yourself. Be clear about which things you may agree to, which things you will have to think about, and which ones are a definite no. There are ways to tell people no politely and even tactful ways to say no at work. If people know what your boundaries are, and if you reinforce them, they will (or should!) respect them. Teach others how to treat you by setting boundaries and sticking to them.
Schedule Your Day
A schedule is a vital tool if you’re looking to create balance. A schedule will allow you to easily see what’s on your agenda for the day and week, showing you if have time to say yes to another project or event. Don’t forget to schedule time for yourself as well. After a busy week, take stock of your schedule. Look back over the previous week and consider how things went. Did you feel hurried and stressed for the majority of the week? If so, then consider looking for one or two things that you can cut out, to give yourself some breathing room the following week.
Being able to prioritize is another important step toward finding balance. If you know which tasks, jobs, and commitments in your life are important, then you’ll be able to say yes or no far more selectively—and with more confidence as well. You’ll know in an instant whether a request or opportunity is something that will further your objectives or otherwise enrich your life, or if it’s something that will distract from them.
Finally, simplifying your life may seem like a stretch, but it’s not as far-fetched as you might think! Life is complicated, and with so many demands on our time, things can become hectic and chaotic fast. Striving to simplify every area of our lives can help us focus more clearly on our priorities. Simplify your home by having regular clear-outs and purchasing the storage solutions that you need to organize your belongings. Simplify your schedule by working to create healthy routines and cutting back on unnecessary distractions. And simplify your downtime by leaving your work at the office instead of bringing it home—unless you have a set plan for it. By getting rid of things and tasks that are distracting you, you’ll be able to live a more intentional, balanced, and healthier life. Remember: busyness doesn’t always signify productivity. It can also be a symptom of disorganization.
Simply saying no won’t allow you to find balance in your work and life. Instead, find balance by setting boundaries, establishing priorities, and creating a solid schedule that you can refer to. Then you’ll be able to say yes to the things that matter most, and no to the ones that would encroach on your life.