What are you saying “No” to?


This post is part of our #indulgeU2016 series

I once read that every time you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. This simple concept makes perfect sense as the fact is that there are only so many hours in a day, and if we are spending those hours doing something, then by default we aren’t doing any of the many other things we could be doing with that time.

In my last blog post I challenged you (and myself) to declutter our physical space by keeping only the things that are useful or make us feel good and getting rid of the rest. This month I’m applying that idea to our time. For August our #indulgeU2016 goal is to declutter our schedule.

Action item: Every night for one week spend 5 minutes reviewing your day just before going to bed. Ask yourself these four questions of every activity that you engaged in during the course of that day:

  1. Was the activity useful?
  2. Did I enjoy the time I spent doing that activity?
  3. What did I say “no” to in order to take part in that activity?
  4. Am I ok with the trade-off in the long run?

The last two questions are what you should spend most of the 5 minutes reflecting upon. By saying “yes” to taking part in that activity what were you not doing? And, was it worth it? For example, on Saturdays while I’m at the boutique seeing to my clients, I’m saying “yes” to work I love doing but I’m saying “no” to spending that time with my husband and daughter. In the first year of running Underpinnings I stayed open on Saturdays until 6pm. That trade-off was not worth it for me as I was missing out on important bonding time with my daughter (then 2 years old).  Since then I’ve condensed Saturday hours so that when I close the boutique at 2pm the rest of the afternoon is free for family.  Do I miss out on some sales? Possibly. The balance however is important so that I can continue loving the work I do and giving my best to my clients.

Reviewing your day before bed can help identify the choices and trade-offs you have been making unconsciously, but the true benefit comes from running through these questions before committing to an activity or a course of action. Ask yourself:

  1. If I say “yes” to this, what will I be saying “no” to?
  2. Is it worth it?

You might be surprised at how many activities are filling your schedule that add no value, or worse, actually take away from the things that are your priorities in life. The beauty is that once you identify them you can begin to make some changes.