It is Saturday afternoon and you have just finished cleaning the house, preparing lunch for the family, have finished off your report due first thing Monday morning and are sewing on a button to your sons football shirt, after which you need to start studying for your business diploma. As you prick yourself on the needle your other half then pops their head through the door and asks you to go to the shops with a long list they have prepared. You don’t have nearly enough time but you smile and say ‘Sure.’ Does this sound familiar?

 

All too often we struggle to say no when we are completely stretched and cannot really afford to say yes. If we say no we may feel we are letting others down and might even feel we are less likable or less recognised in the workplace as a result. In contemporary culture we are taking on more roles, often having a full-time career as well as being the main care taker of the home and family. With so many roles to contend with we can easily fall into the superwoman, or superman trap, feeling that we should be able to manage everything at once. When being a parent, partner, full-time worker and student is normal, how do we learn to judge what is, and is not, reasonable to take on?

 

A good way of assessing whether we are taking on too many requests and demands from others is to write down how much time you have spent over the past week doing things for other people. Whilst doing this exercise think of the choices you make that fall short of your personal goals. If the majority of your week was spent doing things for others it may be time to review how often you use the word ‘No’.

 

Next week we will explore the vulnerable house analogy and learn the two key questions we should ask when assessing whether or not to say no. We will then look at how to gracefully say no.

 

How much time do you spend doing things for others compared with doing things for yourself? Is 40% or more time spent on others? Do you struggle to say no? What reasoning leads to you saying yes when you are already overloaded? Please comment and share your experiences with our community to gain insight, encouragement and support.

 

Exercises:

 

  1. Write down the amount of time you have spent on doing things for others over the past week. 
  2. Now write down the amount of time you have spent over the past week doing things for yourself. If forty percent of your time or more is spent doing things for others consider you may need to familiarise yourself with saying no.