It took me a long time to learn how to say no to demands on my time. And I still struggle with it sometimes.
But like I wrote yesterday, I believe time is the most valuable commodity in the world. And giving it away without a lot of thought doesn’t make sense. I mean, I wouldn’t just hand all my money over to someone who asked me for it, why would I do that with my time?
Saying yes to too many things is an insidious problem, too. People will inevitably ask for more once they know you’re willing and able to help. It’s not always done maliciously, a lot of the time it’s because nobody else said yes. Or maybe they said yes to too many things themselves and they’re suddenly “overdrawn” on their time bank.
Once you start saying no to some things, it also lets you say yes to the really important things. It’s not about saying no to everyone, it’s really about saying yes to the right people.
If you feel overworked or like you never have a minute to yourself, try saying no next time someone asks you to do something. You can do it politely, but don’t be afraid to try it. If people are used to you doing everything they ask, you might get a few surprised looks but it won’t take long until people stop asking for so much.