Have you ever known a person (or been that person) that says yes to a project or event or task and because they are "doing the most" already, either fail to do it or failed to do it well?

What's the lesson in that for us?

Many of us are overachievers, we have seen others seemingly "do it all" and we think that's how it should be done. If we say "no" to someone we are letting them down. But in reality, if we are overstretched or fail to remember the task because we are too distracted with other things, it's really worse to say "yes" and not do it than to say "no" and let the person find someone or some other alternative.

If the situation comes up that you absolutely have to accept the task and can't say no, it's probably good to recognize what you will have to also be saying no if you say yes to the requested task. Will you have to postpone a personal project? Will you be burning the midnight oil and getting less sleep? Will you not be spending dedicated time to self-care, building your spirituality, or spending time increasing valuable relationships with family and close friends?

Whether you say yes or no, realize the cost of either course and make an informed decision. A very wise man once said: "To let your 'Yes' mean Yes and your 'No', No."

Good questions to ask yourself:

  • What do I currently have going on during this time?

  • If I have the time, will I have the energy to complete the task(s)?

  • What are all the mini-tasks involved if I say yes? How long will these tasks take?

  • Can I schedule these tasks in my week?

  • What will I have to shift in my schedule if I say yes?

Hey Entrepreneur, freelancer, business owner! I'm talking to you.

You probably started your business to be able to have more say in your life and if you're a service business owner, you may also want to have more to contribute to the lives of others.

But then...

Life happens, business happens, you do what you do to make ends meet and to keep clients happy and to try to keep it all together.

Maybe you developed some bad habits along the way?

Maybe you brought in some employee-mindset stuff that still shapes your actions as a freelancer or business owner?

I'm here to tell you. Trust me when I say... by being more available for yourself you will be better for everyone you serve (your family and friends included).

We all have probably heard the illustration/analogy of "putting on the oxygen mask first before helping others."

Here are 3 ways you can be more available for yourself.

  1. Awareness about what time of day you are your best self

  2. Setting boundaries to protect your energy

  3. Being flexible with the structures you set

Awareness about what time of day you are your best self

Most people say things like "I'm not a morning person". But do you know that your energy levels can fluctuate by the time of day and day of the week. It can also do a lot with how you are taking care of yourself physically. Eating regular and balanced meals, sleep quality, and the amount of screen time we subject ourselves to. Check-in with yourself regularly to see when you seem to have energy highs and lows and toy around with things to see how you respond to those changes. This may take weeks or months as most of our days are not the same, but over time we can pick up on patterns and these patterns can help us to make better choices about how we spend our time doing what. We can match high energy times with tasks that need higher intensity mental or physical energy.

Setting boundaries to protect your energy

Now that you have more awareness of your energy levels and mental sharpness. You need to set boundaries to best harness that time. You can set your emails to pause with perhaps a notification to those reaching out to you that you will respond to their email in a few minutes, hours, or within a day. You can turn off notifications to your phone. Do you always need to be available? You can do focus work when those typically reaching out to you (like your clients and team) are less likely to send messages like before 9 am or after 6 pm. You also need to remember that when you start to take from buckets of your personal recharge time or time with your family and friends, you will resent those who are "stealing" time from you. Boundaries also protect others from your resentment. Perhaps you can write down all the parts of regular routine tasks, write them down, and create a job description and delegate these things to free up time for you do other things that are not urgent but important.

Being flexible with the boundaries you set.

As mentioned before, not every day is the same. There may be days despite your best intentions that "life happens". You can have systems in place to expect the unexpected. Perhaps you don't schedule meetings on Thursdays so that you can have a buffer day in the week to move things that didn't get done on Monday-Wednesday because of unforeseen things that took priority. Are you or someone you know always on time? The secret is to attempt to arrive 10-15 minutes early. That way you have a buffer for things like traffic, or getting turned around. This buffer also gives you peace of mind. It's true when scheduling your day's a week's activities.

Bonus tip: Kindness trumps productivity on most days. Be kind to others, if a friend needs to talk and you had reports to fill out with no real deadline, listen to your friend. If you had 5 things on your agenda and only got 3 things done, celebrate the 3 things and be kind to yourself. Be flexible and be kind to yourself and others when you set your boundaries.

Andrea Hancock is a Professional Organizer and Owner of Dexterous Organizing, a professional organizing and lifestyle company serving the Washington, DC Metro area. Andrea has been organizing professionally since 2010 and has completed the foundation courses in the Coach Approach for Organizers Training. She believes mostly anyone can create the organizational system that works for their lives through training, awareness, and consistent efforts.

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A British energy company (E.ON) conducted a survey asking people to rank events by how stressful they are. 62% voted that moving was the most stressful event, followed by a break up/divorce, and starting a new job. Let’s also mention that moving is usually followed by divorce or starting a new job! Yikes!

Here are some tips to make it less stressful:

  1. Sort, purge, donate, sell, or trash excess - There’s no greater regret from clients than having to pack up or pay someone to move items you trash or donate on the other side of the move.

  2. Visualize & plan where things will go in the new spaces - Paying someone to move your couch only to realize it doesn’t fit comfortably in your new living room is not only a bummer on your mood but your budget.

  3. Group like things together or by the room, they will live at the new space - If you group items where they will live in the new space pre-packing, your unpacking will be less stressful.

  4. Label, label, label - Labeling boxes with contents, the priority of opening, and what room it should land is a bit of work and thought on the packing end but saves so much time and frustration on the unpacking side.

  5. Plan for the days after the move - Pack a bag of clothes and toiletries for the first few days after the move. Don’t forget to pack away paper plates, napkins, and eating utensils for pre-prepared foods or take-out will help you save some sanity as your energy levels will surely be low after managing a move.

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