Want Life Balance? Just Say No

It’s no one else’s responsibility but your own to manage your day and time. That also means protecting your time. The answer isn’t using the next best app. Here’s why.

To ensure you’re maintaining the quality of  life you want, it’s essential to set boundaries. The problem is, if you don’t have any boundaries, there’s probably going to be some confusion and resistance to creating them! Lets first define what a boundary is.

A “boundary” is basically, a “No,” protecting you from the constant requests, interruptions, or toxic behavior of others, without sacrificing your personal time, goals, values, personal brand, and priorities. For example:


  • You may not talk to/treat me that way.
  • You cannot impose on my personal time.
  • You cannot dump tasks on me.
  • You cannot interrupt me.
  • You cannot expect that of me.

Create Space Before Responding

I’m not suggesting to run around saying NO to everyone. However, setting boundaries means communicating them in a way that would come across positively to the other person.

The next time someone asks you to do something or crosses your boundary, be prepared to protect it. Here’s an easy way to do so.

“I’d love to help. Let me check my calendar so I can confirm my commitment/availability to you.”

Are You a “Yes-Aholic?”

The problem with attempting to set boundaries is, if you don’t have any boundaries, and you begin setting them, there’s probably going to be some confusion and resistance to creating them because people are used to you being a, “YES-AHOLIC,” reacting  always with a YES to their request or tolerating their behavior.

Most people don’t have a time management problem but a mental management challenge.

Regardless of what software or calendar app you use to manage your time, we need to manage our self, before we can manage our time.

Here are 7 mindful tactics to take control of your day and maximize productivity.

  1. Put a value on your time. Is the activity aligned w/ how much your time’s worth? Remember the 3D’s. Do it, delegate it, or dump it.
  2. Build extra time for each task, project, activity. Instead of thinking what you can get done in the best case scenario, think about the additional time it may take in the worst case scenario and use that as your realistic gauge.
  3. Plan for the unplanned. Put blocks of time into your calendar for what you can’t see coming-but will. Think of the things you need to deal with each day, a request, client issue, team challenge, flat tire, etc. Think of how much time this takes every day. Now, block that time in your calendar. Like it or not, you have less time in the day to plan than you think.
  4. Treat everything like an appointment. If you don’t have the appointment, you don’t have the commitment. If it takes up time, schedule it. Otherwise, your calendar will lie to you.
  5. Self-Care Is Non-Negotiable. Think about how your life and routine changed over the pandemic. The first thing people dropped from their routine was eating healthy and exercise. If you don’t have self care scheduled in your calendar, it’s the first thing you’re sacrifice.
  6. Become great at setting boundaries to protect your time and your life by saying “No.”
  7. Embrace “No” as a positive word. “No” is not a “Dirty” word. Just think about the people you respect and admire. I bet they’re really good at saying no. Besides, people would rather you be honest and share what you’re capable of doing, rather than commit to something and fail to follow through. Now you’re creating the very thing you want to avoid by saying “yes” over “no!” There’s a paradox for you.

What follows are a few examples of what the talk tracks would sound like when setting boundaries in different situations.

1. How to respond when people are not communicating respectfully.

“I don’t respond well when people raise their voice. Can we reset this conversation and respectfully communicate with each other or is there a better time for you to talk?”

2. Coaching Up to your manager how you like to be managed:

“Throughout my career, I’ve noticed certain things that some of my prior managers have done, including some of the things that you do, which have had a positive and measurable impact on my performance, my attitude and productivity that helped me consistently reach my goals. Since we both have a vested interest in my success here, and since each person you manage is motivated by something slightly different, I thought it would be beneficial to share with you what I’ve seen you do that I have found valuable and has motivated me to perform at my best. Can we talk about this so we’re aligned around how you can help me maximize my performance?”

3. Managing the Expected Interruption:

“I appreciate you coming to me for help. I’m completing a proposal for now, which I must send to the customer within the next hour.

I want to be as supportive and responsive as I can to your request and ensure that whatever you need, we give it the time and the attention it deserves so that we can successfully work through it together.”

“While I know it’s important to you that we handle this now, is this something that demands immediate attention and must be handled right away or can it wait until I complete this proposal, when I can then focus all of my time and attention on you?”

The Test

Keep this in mind. People will continue to challenge and test your boundaries. After all, think about how many years you’ve tolerated things. Now, it’s time to retrain everyone, not only yourself, on the boundaries you’ve set. So you may have to reinforce your boundaries several times until people get it. Before you know it, you’ll have more time on your hands, more respect from others, few problems, and less requests so you can focus on the things that enhance your life, rather than consume it.

The post Want Life Balance? Just Say No first appeared on Keith Rosen and Profit Builders Blog.