For the past two weeks, I've been stressed out, tense, uptight, and anxious.
Yes, I've been swamped. But, for the most part, I’m always busy.
I’ve been eating right and exercising, so that couldn’t be it. I create a daily to-do list, and I’m organized, so that wasn’t it.
What could it be?
What was making me feel so out of sorts? After some self-reflection, I finally concluded – I'd unintentionally overextended myself.
You see, I love to help people. I also have 1,001 ideas running through my head at any given time, and I want to pursue them all. The problem begins when you don’t say no, and you keep pushing forward even though your mind, body, and spirit are telling you to STOP!
For me, not slowing down and not saying no, runs over into all aspects of my life, from personal to professional.
In fact, I even instigate it further by volunteering myself or planning events that I know in the back of my head are going to cause me stress.
To get your mind, body, and spirit into balance, you first need to ask yourself what is most important in your personal and professional life. Go ahead and make a clear mental note of what’s most important, and before you begin another project or say yes to another request, make sure that these things align with your priorities.
Here are four ways in which I am trying to create better balance in my life by stopping and saying no!
1. Remove the Frustration
In the past couple of weeks, I have been dealing with abysmal customer service and overall poor performance from a couple of my service providers. Besides feeling helpless and stressed, I had spent way too much time dealing with companies that just don’t care. With both companies, I have either prepaid, or I'm locked into a contract; which means that to change to a more reliable and customer-friendly company, I will have to spend some additional money.
Many times in our lives, we compromise our well being just to save a few dollars. Time is a precious commodity, as is your mental and physical well-being. In this particular situation, I have decided to spend a little extra money by delegating an unfavorable task to a professional, and in the other case I am going to break a contract – I already feel relieved just knowing that I don’t have to spend any more time dealing with these lousy companies – definitely money well spent!
2. Prioritize Your Activites
This past month I over-extended myself with projects galore; the problem was that I lost sight of my priorities. And my number one priority is being a good mother. Besides publishing The Work at Home Woman, I also work as a Social Media Marketer, so just there in and of itself, I have a full work schedule. But to add to the mix, I decided to launch a Business Book Club, the She-E-O’s in the Tank Twitter Party, participate in numerous interviews and podcasts, and contribute as a guest blogger – I’m tired just thinking about it all.
The problem came when I had to make heart-shaped sugar cookies, address Valentine's cards, and make snacks for my daughter’s preschool party – these tasks should have been enjoyable, but because I overloaded my plate, they put me over the edge. By keeping your priorities clearly in view and by asking yourself, what exactly needs to be done this month, how much time is it going to take, and what will the results be, I could have saved myself from undue stress and achieved more significant results by focusing on my most important tasks.
3. Clear Your Calendar
When you’re feeling stressed, it’s time to look at the calendar and carve out some downtime. Start by stopping, don’t schedule any more playdates, appointments, meetings, events, or dinners! Be honest and say that you have too much on your plate right now, and maybe next month, you can schedule a meeting (or whatever time frame is appropriate for you). If your schedule is already full, see where you can try to reschedule or cancel, if you are obligated for a particular meeting, see if you can cut down the time that it will take (have coffee instead of dinner).
4. Choose Discomfort Over Resentment
If you've ever heard Brene Brown speak, she talks about how we have a society of nice and polite. And because of this, we don’t have the tough conversations; we choose comfort over saying and doing what's right. I know I'm guilty of saying YES because I don't want to offend or hurt someone's feelings. We need to move away from this mindset and communicate honestly (and kindly) with people.
For example, in your business, if you receive a work proposal from a former client and you're not 100 percent on-board with the opportunity, simply pass. Say something to the effect of, Thanks for your interest in working with The Work at Home Woman, at this time we're not taking on clients outside of the work-at-home niche. However, you may try Jane Doe over at the Business Gal. All the best to you.
Or, in your personal life, if you're asked to volunteer at school, instead of saying YES and stressing yourself out, say, While I would love to help out, my work schedule won't allow for it at this time. Instead, can I donate some store-bought snacks for the event?
Choose to be uncomfortable for a minute, so that you're later not resenting the fact that you said YES to something that you rather not be doing, or that you just don't have the time for.
Related Content: Why Saying No to Clients Could Mean Saying Yes to Your Business
By implementing these four strategies, you can save yourself time, and more importantly, your sanity.
What tips do you have for creating a better work-life balance? How do you tell people, no? Drop us a note; we would love to hear from you! If you enjoyed this article, please share it on your favorite social media site.
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Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she's been able to figure out how to find a career path that you're truly passionate about. Holly's had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.