Do you guys ever hear those tips saying things like "it's okay to say no" or "learn to say no for a better life"? Particularly directed towards mums? I've heard these SO many times over the years and always thought how silly it was ... of course, I know how to say no - I say 'no' all the time! Mostly saying it an insane amount of times due to being a parent. Yet, recently I felt overwhelmed, under-inspired and plain just "tired". And here's where I put my foot in my mouth and admit - I needed to really start saying no.
I'm an avid "list maker", I pretty much have my entire life wrote down and broken into bite size easily reachable goals. I use these goals to set my daily to-dos so I can feel productive when I put my head down at night.
Being your own boss it's easy to wonder if you're "doing enough" these are the types of things that use to keep me up at night. I mean as digital entrepreneurs often we talk more to each other about our pretty flat lays then how much actual work we got done in a day. So in an attempt to further organise myself, I started to add "reoccurring" things to my to-do list app: a yoga session once a week here, PTA meetings twice a month there, XY&Z thing for my kid, hey lets toss in even scheduling out doing a sweet thing for my husband because my relationship deserves it's own space too. Being a self-help junkie I just kept adding and adding things thinking it would make my life so much better.
Add these reoccurring with my meetings and actual office work and my daily tasks lists turned into a massive anxiety filled monster. Slowly I started to not accomplish everything I wanted to in each day, more often I would feel like a failure come days end, be more frantic and less emotionally available for my family. Pretty much I was always in a crap mood.
It took a solid couple of months living like this for me to realize - this is no way to live. And biggest things of all I had to take that advice I'd heard for year. All the pressure, deadlines, and stress I was creating. I made my to-do lists - they didn't make me. So, I started saying no - no to myself with over scheduling, no to overextending my energy and resources, no to being overwhelmed day in and day out.
I'm still an avid list maker/follower but I've since learned how to set up my to-do list to work for me, not the other way around. Now rather than the daily pressure of "how many" things I get done I have priority lists for everything important in my life, family, work, parenting and even fun things. The difference is now though once I mark something off one list I move it to the day it was done giving me the freedom to intuitively work on what feels most important that day where I WANT to focus my energies. Best part is looking at my tasks in such a macro way has helped me let go of what's not important and focus more on what is.
I still get the pleasure of looking at a list all marked off at the end of my day and know I've contributed enough only difference is now I don't feel over pressured and am able to do my best work possible.