One of the biggest mistakes I have seen busy people make is always being available. This can be particularly true for those of us who love to volunteer or are in the service industry such as coaching, mentoring or even web design consulting.
As service-minded people we have this crazy idea that any downtime we have should be filled with “meaningful pursuits” or being of service to others. We get caught up in the idea that if we have any white space on the calendar we are obligated to accommodate anyone who says they need our help.
If we are not careful our lives soon become filled with energy vampires who put incredibly unrealistic demands upon our time. Before we know it our schedules are busting at the seams, and we are on our way to serious burnout.
It is so important to declare that you are the master of your calendar. You are in control. You don’t have to accept every appointment because when you are always available to others you begin compromising what is truly important. You’ll start noticing that your personal, community and professional obligations get out of balance. Don’t let this happen. Take ownership of the fact that YOU are the MASTER of your calendar!
Take a little time to determine what days each week you are available as a community leader and volunteer. This may vary from week to week, and that’s okay. Just make sure you give yourself at least one night off from everything each week. This includes taking the night off from laundry, organizing and other daily tasks.
Are you available nights and weekends? As a community leader and volunteer this is most likely when you will be needed. If you are a business owner this may be necessary for you. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be available every single night and throughout the entire weekend.
To avoid the life-sucking drain of energy vampires be VERY clear on when you are available. Intentionally consider time for family, friends and yourself before you agree to anything. Take the time to discuss your decision with close family and friends who may be impacted by your schedule. This can help you avoid any struggles and resentment in the future when you are putting in extra hours.
There are always going to be people who want us to make an exception for them. Being the giving, accommodating, kind person you are, it is likely that you want to say yes. But saying yes is the first step in compromising what is important to you. This will soon lead to making sacrifices you truly don’t want to make.
Stay firm and remember that you never have to explain why you aren’t available. Simply stating that you are not available is enough. No is a complete sentence.
Teresa Schlup is a successful business owner, mentor, mother and the Official Web Designer of Cloud Nine Organizing. Contact Teresa here if you are in need of a website refresh or a new built-from-scratch website.
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