Get 10 more hours in your week
"I'D love to help, Julie, but I'm really jamming in a couple of projects this month so couldn't give this the attention it deserves. I know you'll throw a wonderful event!"
This was an email I wrote to a business associate who asked for my for help in planning a fundraising party.
Why did I say no?
• Organising events is not my strength
• I made a donation to the charity and felt that was enough
• I'm busy as hell writing my next book and running my business day to day
• I value sleep, sex and downtime with my husband
• I didn't want to
Fair enough, right?
Yep. But most people still feel bad, wrong and guilty at saying no. And it's baffling. Isn't it true that at the beginning of every flight, you hear the same old safety instructions? "Please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others."
So why do we so freely reject this commonsense principle when our feet are on the ground? Our fear of upsetting others and being disliked impacts our health, bank account, stress level, success at work, focus, fun, peace and overall wellbeing.
Saying no ten times more often is the ultimate antidote.
Why? Because when you learn the art of saying no with ease, say yes to yourself (and the things that serve you beautifully)! Starting a side hustle? Yes please! Fun day off with the family? Don't mind if I do (in fact, saying no to two non-priority business meetings means that my husband and I will spend Friday at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, checking out the cherry blossoms).
Mastering the art of saying no has been life changing for me.
Think about it, if I said yes to Julie - it would go a little something like this over the next 7-10 days:
• Phone call learning about event background, plan + structure: 60-90 minutes
• Driving the event space: 30 minutes each way
• Spending time at venue: 60-120 minutes
• Reaching out to friends re fundraising requests: 120 minutes (minimum)!
• Negotiating with vendors: 60-120 minutes
• Shopping for bits and pieces for aesthetics: 120 minutes
• Constant texting with Julie: 60 minutes
• Miscellaneous crap that always pops up when taking on a project: who the heck knows how long (when is a project ever completed sooner than you thought? Never)!
Total time: 10 hours +++
Oh, and the level of resentment for taking it on? Even worse than losing the 10+ hours you could be spending on you.
Who is your current Julie?
What are you saying yes to, way too much? A demanding relative? Extra projects at work that you hope will pay off (but haven't so far)? Your mother in law's quarterly garage sale? The book club you dread going to every Tuesday? The school canteen roster where you always happen to be the sub? Listening to your friend go on and on about her ex or how much she hates her job every Sunday night?
If there's even a teeny nodding sensation within, it's time for you to learn the MAGICAL, joyful power of no.
But how do you say no in a nice way?
It's simple. In a sandwich. Start nice - SAY NO - end nice. And if you're feeling generous, you can offer another solution (this is totally optional).
"I'd love to go to your hens party in Bali but my travel budget is spent for the year. I'll send you $50 for a round of shots on me!"
"I would definitely babysit sweet Samantha if I could, but I have plans Friday night. I can ask Kelly? She's looking for some part time work and is great with kids!"
"I wish I could greet you with a MASSIVE hug at the airport and a ride home Tom but I'm on a really tight deadline this weekend. How about a coffee once you're settled?"
Before accepting any request, always think, "Am I genuinely excited or looking forward to this?" If yes, go for it!
If you're not certain, say you will let the person know. If not, politely decline. A simple, "thank you so much for the invite, so sorry I can't make it" will suffice.
Most importantly, don't feel guilty about it. Martha Beck put it best, "When it comes to saying yes or no to something or someone, choose the answer that feels like freedom."
"No" is one of my favourite words. When you say no to what doesn't serve you, you say yes to something else. I said no to almost everything when building my side hustle which has now become my full time multiple 6-figure business (which only took up 12-16 hours a week of my time back then). And thank heavens I did!
People pleasing is modern day slavery.
If you just turn down just one activity each week - be it networking or just happy hour with friends - that's another few hours you just made for yourself.
What will you do with yours?
Susie Moore is an Australian high-performance coach, author and creator of Side Hustle Prep School. She lives in New York City and has been featured on the Today show, Forbes, Oprah.com and more! Sign up for her free weekly confidence boosting email here.