Learning how to say no

Holy crap. You know it’s summer when every friggin’ weekend is already booked solid. It’s as if Canadians are making up for the six months of frigid hibernation they just went through. I thought last year was unusually busy because every one of my friends decided to get married in the same summer. But looking at my calendar already, it doesn’t look like this year is going to any less hectic.

And it’s not like I’m not looking forward to the activities I have going on. They range from camping weekends to house warming parties to birthdays to BBQs to reunions to my vacation to the Yukon. As awesome as summer is, it can be tricky to find a chance to catch your breath.

The trick to not over-committing yourself is learning to say no. Something I admittedly am TERRIBLE at doing. The week leading up to the May 28th weekend I told myself I was going to lay low and not do anything but unpack some more and settle into my new place. I ended up going to a birthday party, helped my cousin move, out to dinner in Guelph with some friends and then to Kitchener to watch Iron Man 2 (it’s not very good).

So, these tips are as much for me as they are for you. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Don’t take on new commitments. Write your plans on a wall calendar to give a visual sense of how busy you are. If it’s looking pretty full, don’t jump into anything new.
  2. Simplify your commitments. If you’re hosting a house party or entertaining some relatives for the weekend, don’t kill yourself putting together lavish meals or planning complicated activities. Order some pizza and keep it simple, stupid.
  3. Avoid the on-the-spot-invite pressure. When somebody asks me if I want to do something next weekend my first instinct is to immediately say ‘yes’. Get in the habit of telling people, “I’ll think about it,” or “I’m not sure, I may have something else going on that day.” Buy yourself some time so you can reflect if you really want to add something else to your schedule.
  4. Weed out the non-priorities. Make a list of your current commitments. Are there any that aren’t a priority for you? Are there other priorities in your life (like getting enough sleep, exercise, eating properly, etc) that are being compromised by other commitments? If so, they’re calendar weeds and you need to pull them.

So these are just a few ideas to help keep you from burning out this summer. What are your tips for a more balanced summer?

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3 Responses to Learning how to say no

  1. Pingback: Tips Tusday: 10 Simple New Year’s Resolutions « Josh Martin Ink

  2. Pingback: Hay Bale to the Head: A lesson in work-life balance | Josh Martin Ink

  3. Pingback: Hay Bale to the Head: A lesson in work-life balance | Josh Martin Ink

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