One of the things I struggle with the most is saying “no” to new projects or helping others. I’m not an overly enthusiastic people pleaser, but I do enjoy helping others and spending time with my friends. The problem with saying “yes” to everything means I’m saying “no” to something else – usually myself.
When I started working on self-improvement, I realized I wasn’t saying “no” as much as I should. I wanted to do everything and be everything to everyone, but in doing so I wasn’t putting myself first. I thought I was good at time management because I was fitting a lot in my day. But when I looked at how I was spending my time, I realized I wasn’t doing more things I “had” rather than doing things I “wanted” to do.
Before you say yes, consider the following:
- Think about what you’re committing to. How important is this task or project that you’re agreeing to? Will this time take you away from something more important?
- What are you giving up by completing this task? Is this preventing you from spending time with your loved ones? Are you giving up any of your regular self-care practices such as going to the gym or your weekly coffee date with a friend-and is it worth it?
- Why are you saying yes to this project or task? We tend to do a lot of things out of guilt or because we want people to think we’re reliable and helpful. But if the time commitment is too great or consistently takes you away from what you putting yourself first, reconsider if it’s really worth it.
How you spend your time is not anything to feel guilty about. It’s YOUR time. If you can’t do it, it’s okay to respectfully say no. Decide how much time you want to commit to helping others or taking on new projects or tasks that defer you from reaching your personal goals. And most importantly, be firm when politely declining these requests.
It’s okay to put YOU first.