Business owners tend to be chronically over committed, unless they’re vigilant about strategies to keep life balanced. Answer these seven questions to see how you score:
Q1. Do your days generally feel:
A. Roomy and relaxed?
B. Busy but manageable?
C. Frantic and stressed?
Q2. If someone you consider a nice person asks you to do something and you really don’t want to do it, do you:
A. Say thanks, but no thanks?
B. Say yes, even though you don’t really feel like it?
C. Spend hours trying to decide if you should do it or not?
Q3. Let’s say someone hoping to network asks you to book a date for lunch next week. Your company is in a particularly busy stretch, and you know you won’t want to leave the office for a two-hour lunch. Do you:
A. Refuse politely, saying you’re too busy to book anything right now?
B. Say sure, next Wednesday looks perfect?
C. Accept, but then angst about it and end up canceling at the last minute?
Q4: Towards the end of an exhausting week, a friend asks you to meet for dinner at a fancy restaurant Friday night. You know you won’t feel like getting dressed up to go out, but you don’t want to let your friend down. Do you:
A. Thank your friend but ask for a rain check another time?
B. Ask your friend to meet for a movie instead?
C. Agree to go and then dread going?
Q5: Someone brings brownies to the office. You’ve been avoiding sweets to get ready for swimsuit season. Do you:
A. Skip the brownies?
B. Take one brownie and enjoy it thoroughly?
C. Break off a tiny piece of brownie every time you walk by?
Q6: How much of a typical day would you say is spent doing things you truly love or things that are a huge priority to you, even if they’re difficult?
A: Most of my day.
B. Some of the day, but not by any means most of it.
C. Almost none of my day.
Q7: How well are you able to access your intuition?
A. When I’m faced with a decision, I intuitively know the right answer for me.
B. I’m not great at making decisions.
C. I really struggle with figuring out what I want.
• If you answered mostly A’s: You do a fantastic job of identifying the commitments that are meaningful to you and sidestepping the ones that aren’t. Congratulations. You’re a great role model to the people around you.
• Mostly B’s? You are willingly setting yourself up to be too busy. Your life would feel much more relaxed and balanced if you could develop some techniques to say no to the things that aren’t so important to you.
• Lots of Cs? Not only are you letting yourself be perpetually overcommitted, you’re also spending a lot of energy trying to figure out whether you should or shouldn’t do something and how to get out of the ones you agreed to.
TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR SCORE:
- Stop letting Yes be your default answer. Stop and think about whether you really want to make this commitment before you agree out of habit.
- Stop worrying about letting someone down: Just because someone asked you to do something, doesn’t mean you’re the only one they could ask. Maybe the next person they ask would jump at the chance.
- Nice people will still be nice if you say no. There’s nothing that says you’re obligated to do anything anyone asks. Get over it.
- Keep commitments you’ve made to yourself. If you’ve decided to cut back on excess spending or calories, you’re probably not going to truly enjoy any splurge that breaks that commitment. You’ll feel much better by doing what you promised yourself you would.