Prioritize what matters most… then say no to the rest.

Prioritize what matters most… then say no to the rest.

10565013_10152155744570388_1702270454390509183_nAsk most people how they are these days and they’ll tell you they’re busy. We almost wear it like a badge of honour, as though being ‘not busy’ is something to be embarrassed about.

The bigger question we must continually ask ourselves is. “Busy doing what?”

There is an endless amount of ways you can fill your day. All have worth and value in their own way. The challenge we face in this accelerated world is ensuring that how we spend our hours, our days, and therefore our lives, is aligned with what is most important to us. If we don’t we run the risk of finding ourselves busily running about engaged in things that neither feed our spirit or enrich our lives.

Doing that takes being crystal clear about what is most important and meaningful to you, scheduling those things into your day, and then only saying yes to other things if you’ve still got time.

Most of us prioritise whatever has landed on our schedule. What we should really do is to schedule our priorities!

Today is August 6th, my son Ben’s 13th birthday (I’m now mum to three teens!) It’s also less than 5 months until the end of the year.  So let me ask you:

What are your biggest priorities between now and the end of 2014?

I’m on a deadline to finish the first draft of my next book – Train the Brave – to hand to my publisher on October 1st (which is why you haven’t heard much of me for a few weeks.) After that I want to refocus on launching Raw Courage TV and a 2 week trip to the USA.   Doing both, while honouring my the importance of family, friends, fitness and faith in my life is going to require saying no to a lot of things I might have otherwise said yes to.

What about you? What do you need to say no to in the months ahead so that you can create the space to honor more important things whether in your work, relationships, health or life? 

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me what you’re committed to above all else, what you most want to say YES to and what you will, by default, need to say NO to? Just putting it onto paper (or my website) will help you in staying true to yourself. Sharing with others will too!

Sometimes you need to say no to the good to make room for the great. 

So however well (or poorly) you’re managing your time and commitments right now, I invite you to press ‘pause’ on your busy-ness and ask yourself these four questions

  1. Is how I’m spending my time today, this week and this year reflect what truly matters most to me?
  2. Where is my desire to keep others happy and avoid disappointing people taking time and energy away from other, more important, priorities (e.g. quality time with family, ‘sanity’ time for myself)? 
  3. Where am I at risk of not honouring my priorities because I’ve said yes too often? 
  4. What ‘good things’ (and people) do I need to say a gracious and guilt-free No to in order to make room for truly ‘great things’?

Saying yes is easier (at least in the short term) than saying no. It gives us an immediate hit of people-pleasing gratification. If it were easy to say no when we need to, everyone would be doing it. If it were easy to say no, there wouldn’t be so many busy people so dissatisfied with their lives.   But whether in our work, relationships or how we manage our daily lives, sometimes we are called to make a change, to let go the familiar, and say no to something that is “good” to open up the possibility for something better. If you’d like help on how to say no with more grace, less guilt, please read chapter 9 in Find Your Courage. It’s focused entirely on saying no to the good to make room for the great.

The quality of your life is determined by the quality of the choices you make each day. Be deliberate in HOW you choose to spend your time and WHOM you choose to spend it with. Most of all, be really clear about WHY you are doing so.

I dug up this old TV interview on how to say no, with more grace, less guilt. If you struggle with saying no, I hope it will help you!