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Gain Back Control of Your Work + Life by Saying No

Gain Back Control of Your Work + Life by Saying No

I have a confession to make: I’ve been hating my job a little bit lately.

I have been craving the weekends. On Sunday, I dread Monday morning. On Monday morning, I contemplate not getting out of bed. I may or may not have cried in the middle of the day recently. It has become a problem.

Why am I being so Debbie Downer about my dream job? Meetings, meetings, and more meetings. Clients who don’t take deadlines as seriously as my team and I do. The overwhelm of having so many opportunities and commitments but so little time. And on top of all of that, having a kid at home that I’d much rather hang out with than answer another damn email. But, bills.

Now, I know how lucky I am – trust. But I’m not going to gloss over the fact that being boss is not always the stuff of fluffy dreams, and I may have dug myself into a momentary hole of this-isn’t-actually-the-dream-job-I-hoped-it-would-be. And, really, my goal is to love my life and my work, so I decided to take some action.

'I’m not going to gloss over the fact that being boss is not always the stuff of fluffy dreams.' Click To Tweet

Last weekend – while getting mad at myself for being so pissed that Monday was coming – I committed to go into the week being more discerning about the things that I allow into my calendar. I promised myself that I would say “no” to five things during the week that I’d either already said “yes” to, or that may come up as I went along.

Here’s what happened:

1 – I said “no” to an awesome opportunity to fly to NYC for a video shoot.

Kathleen and I were 90% committed to taking an awesome opportunity with a cool brand that was going to fly us up to NYC for some working fun. DREAM JOB! But this was after I’d already committed to my family that #BeingBossMIAMI was going to be the last bit of traveling I did for a while, and all of my recent travel was making my task list of actual work look like The Neverending Story.

But how can you say “no” to NYC?

Well, you just do. I’d committed to myself that this was going to be the first thing that I said “no” to when Kathleen emailed me admitting that she was feeling the same overwhelm and also wanting to say “no.” Score! And done. The brand promised to circle back around to us in a few months.

I was feeling some seriously happy momentum around the whole challenge.

2 – I said “no” to a dear friend who wanted me to be a brand ambassador for her brand.

Shortly after my first turn-down, I received an email from a badass creative friend at Simon & Ruby asking me if I was interested in being a brand ambassador for the next quarter. I had a blast rocking some jewels at #BeingBossMIAMI and sharing them on Instagram, but adding another commitment to my list at the moment wasn’t in my stars.

So, I graciously said “no” to this time around, and encouraged her to reach out next quarter, because then I will totally be down.

3 – I said “no” to a cool mastermind opportunity that I so want to do.

Next on my list was backing out of a mastermind opportunity I’d already committed to, but hadn’t started yet. This one is the hardest for me, but when I weigh what I’m giving up to participate, it makes the decision easier. At this point, what I’m giving up for these extra commitments is time from my family, and that makes it easier for me to say “no” than if it’s just time during the work day when I’d just be sending emails anyhow.

I want my focus over the next 3 months to not be so much on my business, but on enjoying my summer with my family. I do have some other projects on the books, and that will definitely have my focus during work time, but when I’m not doing those, I want to be laying in the sun and picking berries with my kid. #thuglife

4 – I said “no” to a dreamy client who wanted an immediate phone call.

On Thursday I had a client email requesting an unscheduled meeting. Now, this is one of my favorite clients, and I normally probably would have said yes, but my schedule was already packed and squeezing it in would have meant not getting something else done. And that’s never a good place to be.

And so it got a “no” for immediate meeting, but gave an alternative that would allow me to address her questions without adding another meeting to my list.

5 – I said “no” to stressing out about the ending of this blog post.

Yea, this blog post was another to-do on my lengthy task list, and instead of planning out an epic post that left you looking at me while I drop the mic, I’d rather end it here with a simple lesson for you:

Say 'no' to all the fluff and focus on what matters. Click To Tweet

Simple as that. For me, I’m putting my energy in places where I can have the most impact, while saying “no” to all the rest — and then I’m going to go about enjoying my day. I encourage you to do the same.

Because, guys, my world didn’t fall apart just because I turned some things down. Quite the opposite, in fact. This, instead, is how it’s done.

Emily Thompson
Emily is the co-host of Being Boss Podcast, helping creative entrepreneurs learn how to run their own creative business with the tough love they need to hear to do the work. She also owns Indie Shopography, a web design and development studio helping creative entrepreneurs get paid for what they love to do online. You're already in the right place to listen to Being Boss podcast episodes and read more Being Boss blog posts, but you can also say hi online through the Being Boss Clubhouse.
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