21 Days to a More Disciplined Life: Say “Yes” to the Best

Missed the first posts in this 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life series? Read them here.

Learn to Say No

I don’t like to let people down. I don’t like to admit I can’t add another thing to my plate. In short, I don’t like saying no.

But in the last few years, I’ve finally come to realize an important truth: superwoman is a myth. If I want to live a productive, efficient, happy, peaceful, and disciplined life, I must learn to say no. And I must say it often.

If you want to stick with your goals, you’re going to have to get good at saying no. It’s hard to do, especially if you’re an over-achiever like me. But you’ll only end up frustrated, exhausted, and depleted if you try to do it all.

The reality is: I can’t do it all. When I say yes to one thing, I must say no to something else. When I choose to make getting up early a priority, I have to say no to habitually staying up late. I also have to say no to most activities and events that would keep me up late.

Count the Costs

Slowly but surely, I’m learning to think before committing to anything: what will be the consequences of saying yes? Will saying yes to this late-night thing throw me off-course and mean that I can’t get up before 5 a.m.? Will saying yes to this big commitment mean that my home and family suffers?

Count the cost of each commitment before you make the final decision. Don’t just blindly say yes when someone tries to convince you that you must do X, Y, or Z. Don’t give in to peer pressure or make decisions based upon what people might think of you if you say no.

Choose the Best Stuff First

You can’t say yes to everything. It’s up to you to pick and choose wisely and say yes to only what is best. If you have leftover time and energy, you can always say yes to some good things, too. But start with the best stuff first.

Practical Application

1) Evaluate all the activities and commitments on your plate right now. Choose one that really doesn’t matter or isn’t helping you move closer to your longterm goals and get rid of it. If it’s something that involves other people, make sure you don’t just walk out on them without tying up all the lose ends first. Tell us in the comments what you decided to cut out from your life. I’m anxious to hear! :)

2) Make a habit of saying no more often than you say yes. The peace and order you’ll begin to experience in your life will be well worth the initial difficulty of actually saying no.

How are you doing on your current habit? I went to bed early last night and found it was so much easier to get up at 5 a.m. this morning. I need to do that more often! :) I’m very ready for the weekend and getting to sleep in until 7 a.m., but I’m happy to have made it through another Monday through Thursday of getting up by 5 a.m. every day. (Okay, so I know that I initially said I was going to get up before 5 a.m., but I’ve decided to give myself grace adn just stick with by 5 a.m. for now!)

photo credit

Share This:

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!

Read Newer Post
«
Read Older Post
»

Comments

  1. Courtney says

    I clicked on the Missed the first posts in this 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life series? Read them here. and it was a bad link.

  2. says

    Love this concept “When I say yes to one thing, I must say no to something else.” The way I do this is to have a projected ‘time budget’. It’s not complicated…just a clearly defined purpose for my time just as I am developing for my money. What greatly reduces my stress over these ‘yes’ and ‘no’ decisions is knowing very clearly what my focus is…my calling and my purpose in life.

    This is why I chose ‘kid time be JUST kid time’ for my new habit. Frankly I haven’t been doing too great ;-) What I have done well is allow myself to be REMINDED by my kids when I stray off into errands or checking emails or ‘work’. Choosing to allow them to interrupt me has kept me accountable for this new habit.

    Thanks for this latest article–I’ll keep it in mind as all sorts of offers/invitations are starting to come in since my story is appearing in tomorrows All You Magazine (yikes!) and I’m on TV next week (yikes, yikes!!)

  3. says

    The habit I’ve been working on is to workout a minimum of 3 days a week. Since I meet with a personal trainer 1 day, this just leaves 2 on my own. But I’d gotten really bad about it! So far this week, I’ve had 2 workouts and I fully plan on tomorrow being 3 and then Saturday being a 4th!

    The thing I’m cutting out is actually something I decided to cut about 2 months ago. A friend at church randomly asked me if I’d like her to take over the nursery (mainly the scheduling of volunteers)! At first I said no because, well, I like being “in charge” and having a hand in what goes on. But as I took a week to consider her offer, I realized it’s something she has time for and I struggle to find time to do. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, really, but I still struggle with all that I do. It’s also something she’s interested in doing whereas I was asked to do it (and was still in the bad habit of saying “yes”). Therefore, I thanked God for her freely given offer and took her up on it! I’m making December’s schedule and then I’m handing over the reins.

  4. says

    This is a good one — and one I am STILL trying to teach my husband after almost 14 years. He will get pumped about a new activity, and see me as being negative if I (gently) ask what he is going to give up in his busy life to make room for this new hobby/routine/task.

    • Kristen says

      Yeah I’m definitely struggling with that one…seems my husband has chosen to say “no” to all things family related and “yes” to sports and friends. Grr.

  5. says

    I listened to a sermon when we first married called ‘Choosing to Cheat’. I can’t remember who preached it. The idea is when you say yes to one thing you are always choosing to cheat something else. Say yes to dinner with friends and you may be choosing to cheat time with your family, say yes to being on the internet you may be choosing to cheat time cleaning the house or being with your husband, etc. I have always remembered this when making choices.

  6. says

    Good one {again}, Crystal! This is something I’ve been better about over the past year or so, but there have been times when I’ve gotten so overwhelmed with sewing {my hobby but also my “job”} that it’s really just ridiculous. I’ve been better about setting more reasonable time deadlines, and have slowly been saying no more often {not just with orders but with other time commitments as well}. Thanks for the reminder that’s it’s ok to say no!
    Follow along with me here: http://www.sewingsunflowers.com/ss2/Blog/Entries/2011/11/17_Say_Yes_To_The_Best.html

  7. Lea Stormhammer says

    I’ve said no to leading our woman’s Bible study as the “back up” person for our regular leader. For years I’ve been the “go to” person for that, and quite frankly, I’m really glad to not have the extra prep “just in case”. It means I can go and enjoy and learn and have my soul fed, rather than worrying about food, and notes, and who is there and who isn’t and collecting prayer requests, etc. And it means I have a little more time during the week too since I don’t have to prep, do set up and take down, and get in touch with our regular leader to make sure we have all our ducks lined up.

    A young lady took over this position who is really on fire and it’s a great fit for her, and I’m so grateful! This is really her ministry and it’s so great to see her shine in this position!

    As for my habit – going to bed by 1030pm has been going fine. I’ve made it by 1030pm two nights and 1045 the third! Yay me! It also means its easier to get up at 545am with my husband each day instead of hitting the snooze after he crawls in the shower! :)

    Great advice Crystal! And I’m lovin’ this series!
    Lea

    • says

      Something that I’ve found is that when I say no to something that’s just not a good fit for our family at the time or is just severely draining me, it gives other people an opportunity to step in and do something they’d really like to do. And often, it works out to be a better situation altogether!

      • says

        I have often heard that if we take on a job that we are not gifted for, it denies the person who IS gifted for it the opportunity to use their gift. I try to remember that when presented with opportunites to serve, especially in church.

  8. Koree says

    I said “no” to the second job I was holding down a while back. My first job and school work and boyfriend, family, and friends were suffering. So, even though I am just scraping by paycheck-to-paycheck it’s great to have more time for the priorities in my life.

    Tonight, I slacked on my goal. I didn’t do schoolwork tonight (I will give cut myself some slack I am sick I worked all day and then went to class for 2.5 hours where I had to give a presentation).

  9. Blaire says

    I washed my face again last night! Yeah! Face looks better!

    It helps me to list out on paper, or type out the things I did each day. When I feel like I didn’t get much done, or feel overwhelmed, I can look back and realize that I was able to get more done than I thought. And I can celebrate the small successes of what I did get done.

    I always feel like I run out of steam on Thursday. My husband has been out of town since Tuesday, and comes back late tomorrow night. My in-laws are coming in on Saturday, so I have been trying to get the house ready. Today my 2 year old and I did a bunch of errands, including my weekly grocery trip. Picked out our Christmas cards! Took my 4 year old son to and from preschool. Washed my 2 year old’s clothes and put them all away. 2 loads in a week just for him! He’s a mess and I love him so! Took a 1 1/2 hour nap! Needed that! Took all the kids to Pizza Hut to pick up my 6 year old daughter’s Book-it free pizza, and to Bed, Bath & Beyond for another errand. Gave the kids baths and I am wiped. I really wanted to clean the guest bathroom today, but I’ll just do it tomorrow. Going to try to go read now!

  10. Meredith says

    I’ve stayed three days on my eating healthy plan and kept my calories under 1600! I am being challenged tonight as we have a gift card to the Melting Pot and are going on a date. The good news is that it’s free in money (thank goodness that place is expensive) but not in calories. When I read this I laughed because I am going to have to say “no” to a lot of the food. However, I became more confident because I am going to say no to some of my daytime indulgences so I can enjoy tonight a bit better.

    • Sara says

      Hi! When losing weight after my baby I found it really helpful to go online and read the restaurant’s menu before ever going there. Then I could look up nutrition information and make my food decision and be excited about it without getting caught up in the fun emotions of the moment. Have fun on your date! And with a gift card too – yay!

      • Meredith says

        Thanks! I’ve done a little research on what i am going to get tonight. I ate there ions ago so I am kind of familiar with it. However, my biggest problem is that I am actually in a healthy weight range so it’s easy for me to give in and say, “what the heck.”. At least I don’t have to worry about how it’s going to get paid!

  11. Ashley says

    In my experience, saying “no” to something requires honesty. In my case, it is always for the reason of saying “yes” to my first and most important ministries – to my husband and family. If we are honest that a commitment is hurting our family, most are rather gracious about allowing us to step back. Honesty. I try really hard not to say, “I don’t have time for that,” because it makes their need sound unimportant. What I will say is, “that is a great idea (if it is), but I’m unable to help because I am focused on taking care of ____________ (husband and children) right now and have decided not to take on any more responsibilities. Thank you for thinking of me though!” If we are gracious, MOST people will respond in the same.

  12. says

    I have been enjoying this series. I’m reminding when I agreed to become the Nursery Coordinator at my church out of guilt.

    It all started because I actually volunteered for the Nursery, but for a less involved role. Every Sunday a different volunteer watched the kids in the nursery. Since we were putting our daughter in the nursery, I felt taking a turn in the Nursery was a good way to pay it forward. I approached the Nursery Coordinator at the time and told her I could take a turn watching the kids in the nursery.

    Well. The Nursery Coordinator thought I would be the perfect person to pan her job off to. I had just quit my full-time job to stay home with my daughter, and felt obligated since as a SAHM I have all the time in the world! I resent people who assume SAHM are available to do every volunteer job under the sun, yet for a while I bought into that myth myself.

    The Nursery Coordinator made the job sound easy of course. All I would do was put the names of the volunteers on the calendar for the year.

    There was more to the job – as there often is. The previous Nursery Coordinator didn’t juggle volunteers’ scheduling preferences. She simply scheduled everyone for the year, and if someone couldn’t make their assigned Sunday, it was their job to switch with someone else.

    I wasn’t as assertive as her, and thought since I was dealing unpaid volunteers I had to accommodate their preferences, and ended up juggling all of these people’s schedules. Despite all of my efforts to be accommodating, there were still people who couldn’t make their assigned Sunday. Instead of contacting another volunteer to switch, these people sometimes contacted me, expecting me to find a replacement. When I couldn’t find a replacement, I ended up watching the nursery that Sunday.

    The worst was when people would quit and I was left with the task of recruiting new volunteers. In essence, the Nursery Coordinator felt like a part-time job. An unpaid part-time job.

    I did the job for a year, and then gave the Church a month’s notice to find someone else. Once I left that job, I felt such a weight lifted. Saying no to the Nursery Coordinator job allowed me to spend more time hanging out with my husband, managing my home, exploring money saving opportunities.

    The same could be said of seeking deals: sometimes you have to say no to one deal to make room for a better one or a money earning opportunity.

    • says

      Angie,. I wrote about this too! (further up). I was in the same situation (well, not the SAHM part–I’m a workin’ single gal), where I was pretty much handed the position. After 2 years, I’m handing it over to a good (and super-organized) friend who just walked up one Sunday and offered to take it! It seems like scheduling just a few people every week should be easy, but it really isn’t, eh?

  13. says

    Like you in the past, I am so bad about saying “no” to people. I’m a people-pleaser, so I want to do all things for all people. That certainly cannot be, since my children are still young (9, 6, 3). At my bible study this week, I was having prayer with an older woman who has become somewhat of a mentor to me (she is actually my 6 year old’s teacher). She prayed this exact request (without any prompting) that I would learn to say “no” and focus on my little ones and my home.

    Thanks for this reminder again here. When things come from multiple, unrelated resources, I think I should listen!

  14. Cathy says

    As part of my new early mornings per the plan, I have been journaling.

    An amazing realization hit me today—when we fall ‘’off the wagon’’ we should give ourselves a break and give it a new label: MOMMY VACATION DAYS!

    I work outside the home, on weekends and holidays I don’t beat myself up for not going in to my office and doing work. I get a break from it and go back refreshed—ready to tackle it all.

    The Mom/home economist part of me doesn’t get official vacation days, but maybe I should schedule them!

    What’s happening now is when I get to that point of overload/big home life project done—I ‘slack off’ and sleep later, the house gets a little messier, I coupon less, etc.

    Then I feel like a failure, but I shouldn’t—every JOB needs vacation days/mental breaks.

    I am going to start scheduling Mommy Vacation Days. These won’t be spa days or shopping days—just days (or a week or a weekend) when I let the laundry sit, allow extra screen time, stay up to read a book, call a friend, whatever makes me feel good.

    I feel that if I plan for them I’ll get the breaks I need before I reach the point of exhaustion and overload. I’ll replenish my mommy reserves and return from vacation to full time duty refreshed and ready to take on that laundry:)

    • Rachael says

      I’ve just returned to working full time after being a full time student/full time mom for the past 3 1/2 years, so I’m continuously trying to strike a new balance. I try really hard to do the chores on Saturdays so I can mostly save Sundays for rest and church. I do most of my cooking and baking for the week on Sunday, however, but I enjoy it and don’t really see it as work. If I do need to bring work home on the weekend, I get up really early on Saturday morning and try to get it done before anyone else is up.

      I’m with you–you need that time off to do all you are doing during the week.

    • Patti says

      You hit the nail on the head!! I often get very resentful when I see my hubby or child relaxing because I feel like “a woman’s work is never done”. . . but really it is up to me to just take a day off and let it be “okay” or stop at night and enjoy time with them. I guess since I do include lots of opportunities for myself (I’m in a few friendship/hobby groups), I felt guilty when I needed a break. But we can all only work so long and be effective… after that, we are too tired to do things well. Thanks for your post!

  15. says

    We realized a while ago that Thursdays are always our hardest days, so we made that our official takeout night. We don’t even sit at the table — we sit on the floor, eat burrtos and pizza and watch Curious George. This planned indulgence keeps us from slacking off the rest of the week.

    I had a good morning this morning. I was up at 4:30, made my grocery list, finalized Thanksgiving and did some laundry. Ate breakfast with the kids and read some books.

  16. Marie says

    I have resisted getting up earlier then the kids in the morning because I’m always so tired. My husband is gone Sundays- Friday mornings so it is me 24/7 with 2 4yr.olds and a 9m. old. But I NEVER have enough time to get things done.
    Sooo I decided i would try getting up at 5am and being in bed by 10pm. Yesterday was the first morning. And it was great. I spent some time with God, which was an area I longed to improve on but again struggled fitting it in. I truely wanted “that quality” time where I could just linger in His presence.
    As a result my day was sooo much better! I was more calm with the kids and patient and just overall had a great day!
    However, today was day two and I struggled to have enough energy to get out of bed. I did get up, spent some time with God but had to crawl back in bed!! I just could barely keep my eyes open. And today i have to prepare for a class I’m teaching on couponing tomorrow so I need to be awake because I’ve not had the time I needed to prepare.
    Crystal, how do you do it? Will it get easier?
    My hubby walked in the doors at 7am with a Mocha in hand for me:)

  17. tara says

    Timely post as we approach the holidays and all those random little events that come up at church, school, etc.! It’s tempting to just throw them all on the calendar and try to rush around to every little thing. This week my son’s daycare had their annual Thanksgiving lunch. I would have had to miss some work hours (make them up later, taking time out of my evening) as well as the prep work of bringing a side dish, etc. My son is 17 months… he was not going to notice if I was there or not… I said no! You know what, I didn’t miss it a bit, and our week was much more peaceful without that seemingly small event.

  18. says

    Just wanted to say that you have motivated me to stop complaining about how out of shape I am and start doing something about it. Today is day 3 of Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. Yes I am sore, but it feels good to exercise and it is helping my back which has been bothering me. Thanks!

  19. Amy H. says

    I love this advice and have been following it for years. I’m all about minimalizing my commitments and delegating what can be delegated. I also have learned that saying ‘no’ now is sometimes really not a ‘no’, it’s just saying ‘not now’. So while I may be disappointed that I can’t fit in that one more thing right now, I realize my life will change, the kids will grow and those things will come in their own time. If not, they were never really important to begin with.

  20. Lauren says

    On the other hand, it is possible to miss out on being a blessing to someone else when we say no to something so we must be sure that Every decision is prayerfully decided based on what God wants lest we say no for the wrong reasons; such as we don’t feel like it, or laziness etc. Because we can’t forget our purpose is to glorify God and serve others for His glory. Thankfully through prayer our God promises wisdom! Yay!!! Praise the Lord!

    • Christy says

      I often have trouble saying no to church committments. I get to the point I just can’t do anything else. I work full-time and have 2 children. My husband works 2 jobs so I usually get the kids up and dressed and out the door alone and get them bathed and the baby fed and in bed alone. I am on the Children’s Ministry Team and the Bridges Ministry (for special needs children) at church and volunteer with the 3-4 year old choir on Wed. night (with one of my sons). I do Bible School in the summer (I am off in the summer). I have been asked to help with the youth, where I KNOW I am not gifted. I have been asked to join all kinds of other committees. I can barely keep up with the Children’s Ministry Team sometimes. I have been asked to teach children’s Sunday school many times. I always say no. I have an awesome adult Sunday school class who I cherish. I teach first graders all week long, I volunteer with children’s choir on Wed. nights and therefore do not attend an adult class; I babysit other people’s children one night a month so they can go out (special needs respite night) [my husband and I go out w/o children less often]. I need some time to fill my own Spiritual cup, i.e. my adult Sunday school lessons. Plus not burn out… Sometimes I am at the church 4 nights a week as it is. It’s so easy to say yes to everything church related but sometimes you have step back and prayerfully consider like Lauren says. Sometimes God will tell you to say yes, but I think sometimes He is telling us to say no! We just have to learn how to listen.

  21. says

    Just the advice that I needed today… I’ve added a lot to my plate recently (out of choice and out of necessity) and yet, I’ve cut nothing out. I definitely need to sit down and figure out what I need to say “no,” to. Thank you.

  22. says

    This is a special topic to me as it took me years to figure this out. I was in a deep discussion with someone once about why I could not step up and fill a volunteer position and I literally said out loud, “If I say yes to this, you have to know there are 17 other things that I am saying no to, including some of my top priorities. Because of that, I will not do as good a job as you need” Hearing myself process that out loud was a very freeing moment. It makes my “yes’s” far more authentic because you are getting all of me.

  23. Jessica says

    I am in the process of giving up perfection. I can get so much more done if I just lower my standards a little bit. I still value a job well done, but I am trying not to overdo things just to impress others.

  24. says

    Because we live 40 minutes out of town, we have to evaluate decisions carefully. Gas costs are too high to waste trips. We go in for church twice a week, and we do music lessons on the one weekday that we are already in for midweek church services. We also do speech therapy on one other day, which is when I get groceries.
    Being home with my 8 kids who still live at home is my top priority. Going to town is a major expedition, so we have to say No to too many trips. It also means we say no to lots of extra meetings and things at church, and honestly, I don’t feel guilty about it.

  25. Rhonda R. says

    I have a basic answer which always works for me. I just say “I’ll have to check my calendar and get back to you.” This gives me time to actually look at my calendar, see if it fits into my schedule and consider if it is really something I want to do at this time. If I decide the answer is no, I inform the person I am unable to do it at this time. Period. I won’t get into a debate over it.

  26. Anna says

    I am doing well with managing my finances–won’t go into detail.

    I also think sometimes we need to say “no” to ourselves–”no” I need to stop blogging and hit the sack. I sometimes work too long on things when I really need to say no to myself and stop what I am doing and go to bed.

  27. Lynn Oyama says

    This is a great series! Thanks for sharing. I loved it when I get up early and get a lot done. If I could habitually get up at 5 a.m. it would be incredible what I could get done. I’ve done it before and I am going to try again! Thanks for the motivation.

  28. says

    My husband is involved in non-profit ministry (and therefore, me too), so often we have to say no to church activities because we so much else going on already.

    Like Rhonda above, I also use the “I’ll check with my husband” or “Let me check my schedule” excuse, or get out of things by blaming them on kids’ nap-times and bed-times.

    We’re also down to one car now which also streamlines our outings and commitments.

  29. says

    This is all very very good advice I wish I had years ago, lol. I wasn’t raised around parents that could show me good discipline so you can imagine how much I struggled (and still continue to struggle) when I became an adult.

    It’s funny you’re talking about getting rid of some commitments you don’t need because I recently stepped down as our company’s Family Readiness Group Leader. I had a VERY hard time letting this one go because I have such a big heart for the military and absolutely LOVED getting to know everyone in our group and helping them out when they needed it.

    The problem was that it took a lot of my time away from my family and as a result we all suffered. I finally realized what was happening and decided it wasn’t worth it enough to me so I stepped down.

    I AM SO GLAD I MADE THAT DECISION!!!

    I now have a cleaner house, healthier, and happier children as well has a healthier and happier mom (that’s me ;)) and dad. It was so worth the sacrifice!

  30. Nikki Worstell says

    Being a pastor’s wife makes saying no very difficult, since my husband has to say yes more than no to our flock, but when he was hired at our church he told them during the interview that they were only hiring one pastor – him, not me. So that has given me soo much freedom – i can say no and not feel guilty and i can keep my children out of the “fish bowl”!! When we made the commitment to homeschool, my husband also told me that with that responsibility all things need to take a back seat if i/they were to succeed. at times, i rebelled against it thinking i could do it and everything else i had been doing, but last summer he had to put his foot down and tell me i needed to cut back some of my responsibilities outside the home once school started up again. i was not happy about it at first, but just two weeks after cutting back on just about everything, except my home and homeschooling my whole world turned upside down!! my sister’s husband was tragically killed and she was left a single mom at the age of 31. this past year i have been able to give her some much time, energy, and effort because i said no to everything else but my family!! i am so glad i was able to be there for her and my niece. i wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. i praise god because if i would got my way, this last year would have been 10x harder or i wouldn’t have been able to be there for someone i love and adore!!

  31. Patti says

    I am pretty good at keeping my commitments to others in perspective… right now I am helping to care for my elderly parents so I have given lots of thought to what else I can add to my plate and do well. My problem comes from within myself… my new goals are to get up earlier, have my quiet time, and exercise which I have basically accomplished this week and feel so much better for it. Because of these goals, I have been prioritizing what else I need to do during the day and working on one or two things to get done so I feel like I really did accomplish what I set out to do. Well, today there was a holiday bazaar at a church that I wanted to attend but I had to say “no” to myself in order to finish what was on my list. Tonight I feel much better because I really did get some important things done and I can always attend the bazaar (or another church’s) this weekend. I hope I can keep telling myself “no” when distractions come up so I can continue forward on things I decide are the most important.

  32. KimH says

    I didnt learn to say no until I was well into my mid 30s.. actually it was probably close to 40.. but Im 50 now & I assure you, it does get easier as you practice it. Just be honest and up front when saying no. Try practicing saying it. “Im sorry, I really dont have the time right now to be able to commit to ________.

    I have been taking a series of cake decorating classes, and while they were just for fun, my time started becoming really crunched because of them, and I bowed out of taking the last 2 classes due to the fall clean up and approaching holidays.

    There just wasnt enough of me to go around. I can take the other classes early in the spring when I dont have as many commitments.

    Thanks for sharing great stuff here on your blog. I always enjoy it.

  33. Andrea says

    Thank you so much for this article! I can’t tell you how much this hits at home for me. This past year has been a learning process of saying no to certain things, activities, and people in order to stay balanced and to maintain my joy in life. Yes, there have been more sacrifices that I have made in eleven months, but, it will be so worth it in the end! I know these are necessary sacrifices.

    Again, thank you for these encouraging words! This is an affirmation I needed – to know that I am on the right path and that my sacrifices aren’t ridiculous choices.

  34. Laura says

    This is so very hard for me. I’ve been a go-getter from day one and hate to turn down opportunities because I don’t want to miss out on anything. When I quit my teaching job to stay home with my (now 2 1/2-year-old) son, I thought that I would have a lot of time to accomplish the things that I hadn’t had time to before since I was so busy with my job. Ha! How wrong I was. :)

    A couple of months ago, I took a quiet moment to write down all of the things I currently do and/or would like to do (I’m talking time commitments, not abstract thoughts). I prayed over the list and asked God to help me figure out where He wanted me to spend my time. I divided this list into four categories:
    1) yes, do this
    2) yes, but do this less than you’re doing it now
    3) yes, if you have time
    4) no

    And some of the things in the “no” category were things that I really, *really* wanted to do: join a playgroup in my MOMS Club, act as secretary for a group I’m in, etc. Good things, but I realized that there just wasn’t enough time to fit everything in. I had to consciously recognize my desire to do these things and then actually say “no” to them (even if only on paper) to feel better about closing that door.

    Ever since I did that exercise, I’ve been feeling a lot more balanced about my time commitments and I’m glad to have this list to fall back on/refer to. I’m confident that God helped me place those tasks into the appropriate categories, and I feel a real peace about it.

  35. says

    Thank you for this. It could not come at a better time . What you write confirms what i must do. It seems i never say no. I have always been a caregiver and it is hard for me to take when i need it. I don’t try to be a superwoman just a good person. I just recently tried to say no to a old neighborhood friend who moved down south from the north. she was mad at that answer so i changed my mind and ended up being mad at myself for not sticking to my word. Not to mentioned feeling used again. She has been here not even 6 months and i have helped her from yard work to inside her home and leaving my work undone. This last straw was sod in my sports car she could of easily come back to get and put in her own. I listen to her problems while she makes me feel mine are unimportant, when we talk its always about flowers/plants for her yard. she wants from mine(which i gave almost a piece of everything i can) now she wants my neighbors. She wants what took me 7 years to get and she wants it NOW. Does not want to go buy it plants or anything else she needs. If i say i need to stay home today to get something done she says she will help but never does. What a mess! I now have to say no to offering help or to the relationship. I let so much go and just needed your eye opener. Is this relationshipworth it………………Really

  36. says

    I recently got hired (starting tomorrow) at a 4th part-time job. Yes, I have three other part-time jobs, AND I’m finishing up my last semester towards my AA degree. In order to do well in school, I had to find myself a tutor for my statistics course. After the new year, I won’t have to schedule in school anymore & I will be able to add some stuff back in. I was involved in choir on Wednesday nights, but I’ve had to drop it until I’m finished with school. I look forward to adding it back in!