When I first thought of freelancing, I thought of all the things I would be able to do if I wasn’t tied to a 9 to 5 — lazy mornings with a crossword puzzle and a latte, lunch dates with some of my stay-at-home-mom friends, volunteer at the kids’ school, all while maintaining a perfectly clean and organized home and having delicious home cooked meals ready when the hubby walked in the door. Unfortunately, reality set in pretty quick — as a freelancer, I’m busy — just as busy, if not more, than when I worked a 9 to 5!
Learning to Say No to Yourself
Once I started freelancing, there was no abundance of “free time”. In fact, the 45 minutes I saved each day from no longer commuting, was more than filled with the extra tasks I had to take on as an entrepreneur. In order to save my sanity, I had to let go of the notion that I could do everything. I had to learn to say no — to myself as well as to others.
Time is a precious commodity, and needs to be treated as such. All time spent doing one thing takes away time needed to do something else. Some activities are worth your time. Some are not. To truly make the most of the time you have, you need to know the difference — and act on that knowledge by saying no to those tasks that are not aligned with your goals and vision.
Learning to say no to myself was not difficult. Disappointing, yes. But not difficult. I had a clear goal in mind (to build my client base in order to make a certain amount of money each month) and a vision (to be available to my children). It was pretty simple to differentiate between activities that would bring me closer to my goal and vision and those that would not. And, truthfully, it wasn’t that hard to talk myself out of dusting! The difficult part was learning to say no to others.
Learning to Say No to Others
There’s a difference between being a stay-at-home mom and a freelancer who works from home. And it’s a big difference, although I have quite a few friends and acquaintances (and children) who don’t realize it. Somehow, not having a “job outside the home” got translated into I was available — for breakfast, lunch, volunteering in the school, coffee visits, and long phone calls.
Saying no to other people is uncomfortable. But then again, so is being over-booked and over-stressed! Saying yes to someone else’s request means having less time to pursue your goals — in essence, saying yes to others means saying no to yourself.
If you’re having trouble saying no to others, try this phrase — it’s polite, succinct, and doesn’t leave wiggle room.
Thank you for thinking of me. I wish I could, but I’m just not able to right now. Maybe another time.