None of the following ideas is revolutionary, and you have likely heard them before today. However, they’re good reminders for all of us, especially those who fall into the realm of the over-committed.
- “Let me get back to you,” should be the first thing you say in response to any request that comes your way. A little time between you and the request can give you some perspective.
- Make rules for your agreements — If the request is from someone very dear to you and the request is for her well-being, you will very likely accept the request. If the request is from an organization you find morally questionable, and you don’t want to do the work, you’ll say, “no.” Length of commitment, obligations outside of meetings, and the person or organization making the request should all be considered when creating your rules.
- Keep your attention focused on what matters most to you. (If you aren’t clear about what matters most to you, check out “Make a list, check it twice.”) Keep your eye on the big prize.
- Reframe your perspective. Saying, “no,” to a less-important action gives you the opportunity to say, “yes,” when a request you really want to accept comes your way.