I was searching for inspiration for this post and remembered one of my favorite organizational tips! So many of my clients have one common theme underlying their disorganization issues: they are over-committed! They have a difficult time setting boundaries with those around them.
How can we possibly make healthy meals, exercise, get our work done, pick up the house, help with homework or bedtime stories if we are booked from morning until 10 pm? This is the reality for many people.
The first step in setting boundaries is knowing your own priorities and goals. Once you know what your life is supposed to be about and where you’re trying to get to, you can reference these priorities when you are posed with a request or invitation from a co-worker or friend.
How do you free up your time for yourself or simply relaxing or sleep? Set boundaries by saying, “No thank you.” It’s that simple. You know you want to. You think about the stuff on your plate all the time and wish you could unload some of it, or maybe all of it, right?
Say “NO” Without Sounding Like a Bad Guy
- Would you like to volunteer?
“I would like to but I can’t. I have other priorities right now.”
“I’m not sure if I can commit to that. Let me think about it and get back to you.” (No need to feel like you have to answer on the spot. This strategy buys you some time to consider how the activity fits into your priorities and calendar.)
“I’d like to volunteer but can’t do it until next month.”
- Can you coach the soccer team this season?
“No thank you, but I’m happy to help you find another qualified person.” (Maybe a friend wants to get involved but is a little reluctant and needs your nudge.)
- I would like you to get this report done before the end of the day.
“I’m happy to get this done for you. Can you help me prioritize my other work so I can make your report my top priority?” (This one is sneaky because you didn’t even say, “no”!)
- Would you like my kids’ hand-me-down toys?
“Thank you for thinking of me. We are so fortunate to have more than enough so please donate them to someone who really needs them.”
- Can you help me with this project?
“I’d love to help you but I am booked until next week. Can we discuss it then?”
Try one of these soon! You’ll find out how liberating it is to say “no” sometimes. It’s a great way to set boundaries with those around you.
I challenge you to say “No thank you” at least 5 times this week. Share your “NO” successes with us! Once you’ve started saying, “no”, you’ll have a better handle on your time. Then give us a call and we can show you how to manage your time for maximum productivity!