The ultimate way to manage your time and take control of your schedule is to learn to say no.
To do this, you have to unlearn cultural and societal messages that tell you saying no makes you selfish, impolite, aggressive, self-serving, uncooperative, or any other subconscious, negative association you may have with the word. Time is precious, and ultimately, you can’t care what others think of you (when you know you’re doing the right thing) if you truly want to achieve your goals. The benefits of learning to say no are many, not least of these is better time management. Here’s what you’ll gain in the process:
You’ll stress less. Over-committing leads to major stress and a lack of fulfillment. Things that are supposed to make you happy end up being cringe-worthy obligations. When we’re miserable, it tends to show. We don’t give 100 percent and things suffer, but the first thing that suffers is our health (mental and physical). While the first few times you say no may cause a bit of stress, it will ultimately decrease your stress. You’ll feel a sense of relief, once the sting of initially ripping off the bandage wears off.
You’ll join the ranks of true professionals. The most successful people in the world know how to delegate, outsource, and say no. No one has time for everything, and professionals know what’s worth their time and what isn’t. People expect professionals to be busy, so is what you do a hobby or an important job? Your actions will reveal how seriously you take what it is you’re investing in. Explanations for saying no aren’t necessary, either; your calendar is full. Period.
You’ll earn more respect. As above, you’ll be perceived as being a true professional and someone to look up to because you’ve set firm boundaries. You’re unafraid to put your long-term vision above short-term obligations. If you really want to help others, set an example. Don’t be a pushover or a doormat. The people who say yes to everything get asked to do everything!
You won’t accidentally take on more than you can handle. How embarrassing and disappointing is it when you commit to something and can’t give it your all, or worse yet, can’t follow through? If you say yes to everything, something will suffer.
You’ll be able to say yes to more. Learning to say no to things that don’t advance your business and further your goals will open opportunities for saying yes to things that could really give you an advantage (like a class, seminar, conference, or networking opportunity).
You’ll become more proficient in the things you really want to be doing. When you spend a lot of time doing something, you get better at it. Practice makes perfect. If you’ve freed your schedule from doing all of the things you hate doing, you’ve made room what you really want to be doing, which in turn will make you better at them.
Goal Setting Books and Inspiration
My favorite inspirational writers are Gretchen Rubin, Laura Vandercamp, Jen Sincero, and Emily Ley. If you need positive thinking or quick-witted motivational sass (like Jen Sincero!), these recommendations will help you get started on your journey.
My Favorite Planners
- How to Organize Your Blog With Purple Trail Content Planner
- Erin Condren Planner: Is the Life Planner For You?
- lake + loft dream.plan.do planner review
Need more motivation? Visit my most pinned post about Motivational Books for the new year or check these books to help you organize your home.
What is your best tip for starting a new year? Do you journal or use a paper planner?
The next time someone asks you to do something, even if it’s definitely something you want to do, pause and tell them you’ll need to check your calendar. Make it a habit. This buys you time to think about it, ensures that you aren’t over-booking, and also tells the person making the request that you have a busy schedule and don’t make snap decisions.