Leadership

How to stop saying 'yes' to everything — and get your life back

TR-YGW
The Washington Post | Getty Images

Would you mind doing me a small favor? Did you feel that sinking feeling just from reading that question? If yes, you may fear saying no and find that "yes" word just jumping out of your mouth and committing you to things that fill you with dread.

Your time is valuable and so is your energy. By saying yes, when we really wish we could just say no, we are giving our time and energy away. This opens the door to resentment and frustration that could have been easily avoided by using that two letter word that no one really enjoys hearing or saying.

It's really time that you make your peace with disappointing people. It simply comes down to one simple question: Are you going to chose you or them?

Arianna Huffington recently spoke with CNBC about the importance of self-care.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Arianna Huffington recently spoke with CNBC about the importance of self-care.

I know, we learn very young that we should always put others first, but the disclaimer that was left out of that statement was to never do it at the expense of your own physical or mental health.

Stress creates disease. Over-committing creates stress. You do the math.

If you tend to take on more projects than you actually have time and energy for and become stressed or frustrated from having to use your spare time for everyone else, it's time to change your ways. What can you do? Follow these three easy steps and get your chill time back.

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Karen Desjardin | Getty Images

1. Know how much spare time you have available

Sit and list out your current projects and how much time each one requires of you. If you are awake 16 hours a day, how many of those hours do you want to spend working and how many hours do you want to give to yourself for unwinding, resting and relaxing?

2. Decide how much time you want to give to others

If you have spare time, how much of it would you like to give to others? Once that time has been committed, it will be time to say no to all other requests. If you say yes and spend spare time that you don't have, this deducts from either your work time, me time or sleep time. You don't want that ... So just say no when requests start taking away from your personal time.

3. Say no nicely

Have a prepared sentence or phrase that says no in the nicest way possible. Learn how to let them down gently. For example, "You are so sweet to think of me, but I don't have the time and energy to commit to that right now."

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If you have your response already rehearsed and ready to go, you will never be caught off guard and you will reduce the likelihood of that "yes" slipping out ever again. You are still a nice person, even if you disappoint others by protecting your time and energy. The only difference now, is that you are a nice person to not only others and but also to yourself.

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This article originally appeared on Today.