I was on the phone the other day with a friend who expressed the anxiety she felt over a few deadlines that were quickly approaching – a feeling we have all known. She is an entrepreneur and business has steadily increased over the last few years. While she has brought on additional people to her team to meet the needs of the business, she remains the CEO - Chief of Everything. As we were speaking about the looming cloud of deadlines, we began to uncover common issues many people in the business world face, including how she goes through cycles of growth that lead her to 15 hour workdays. This is often a result of saying yes to every possibility for the fear of missing an opportunity – a concern among many.
During and after, we think “I don’t ever want to go through this again!” and somehow find ourselves repeating the pattern of committing to more than demanded from us and in the meantime we are withering away our most valuable asset –time.
In some respects, it is the nature of the beast when it comes to business - you work furiously in locating clientele and completing the projects, not to mention assembling the right team to do the job well; and before one client project is done you have to go out and find one to put in the pipeline to replace it - and the cycle continues. At the end of the day you find yourself overwhelmed and exhausted with a business dinner at 8:00pm and a networking breakfast the next morning at 7:00am - oh, and you still need to complete X,Y, and Z in the between.
As these functions of business cascade, it is rather difficult to maintain a clear perspective and find a way out of that dizzying loop which often leads to being overwhelmed or frustrated. What if we could stop repeating that pattern by simply saying “no”…saying no to feeling frustrated, no to being overwhelmed, and no to those things that have ridden our consciousness with guilt? Things like a networking happy hour, a teleconference, or that dinner with a client’s cousin’s brother’s nephew. Instead, what if we said “yes” to things that allowed us to feel unburdened, yes to having a clear mind, and yes to feeling balanced. Things like dinner with that friend who you haven’t seen in months, a spin class that you’ve wanted to try, or volunteering at your community kitchen, (or even a nap).
This week, why not say “no” to one thing that makes you feel burdened or overwhelmed. Remove it from your to do list and give yourself permission to replace it with something that you desire to do. The purpose of doing this is to practice being intent with your time. When we let go of those things we can say no to, we release the placeholder and can discover how we want to appropriate our time to things that bring us happiness.
By focusing on what it is we want to do, we are able approach everything else in our life with more purpose, and hopefully a greater perspective. When we fill our day with things we can say no to, it is as if there are blinders on our eyes and our perspective stays narrowed. And when we are back at the office and those deadlines are approaching and you are faced with working around the clock, you might have something to look forward to and hopefully find a little more balance in life.