Work life balance is what we create and as business owners, we are often seeing both sides – our balancebalance and our staffs’ balance.  I, for one, go with Life Balance.  Long ago, I started putting all my events/appointments/obligations on one calendar.  This way, I can easily see what my time looks like. I only have one life and it is important to me to have the whole life balanced and pleasant.

As a woman, I know that I often will say YES because it is easier than saying NO.  In the end, if it wasn’t something I felt strongly about, I would end up either not doing my best or feeling overwhelmed.  Still, sometimes I will say YES not clearly looking at my calendar or understanding the full commitment of saying YES.

Being clear on the expectations of say YES is important.  If project creep makes the YES bigger than I expected, I have a choice of finding a replacement for myself or if I can’t find a replacement, being honest and saying I can’t honor my commitment.  This is hard and I often want to avoid getting into this situation.

When asked to do a new task or a new volunteer project, here are the questions I try to remember to ask:

  • Do I have the skills and talents to make this project successful?
  • What is the total time commitment?  Supplying cupcakes to the school bake sale is easy if the cupcakes magically appear on my kitchen counter – that has never happened to me.
  • Is this an honorary position that requires no work?
  • Will this further my ____________?  Career?  Education? Political Career? Family Life?  Be sure you know why you want to take the time to do this.
  • What will I give up to do this project?  Unless you have lots of time where you are sitting back and doing nothing, something will have to give.  Are you willing to give up hobby time, family time, relaxation time?
  • If I say NO, what will happen?  Sometimes, when you say NO, you can qualify it with either when you will have time or what you are currently doing that you don’t want to give up. I do know that the world will not end if you say NO!
  • Am I doing this because it will look nice on my resume?
  • Can I give money instead of volunteering?

Saying NO often feels like you are letting others down.  Being clear as to where you want to spend your time will mean that others will be constantly seeking you out because you will appear level headed, on target and happy.  The asks will never stop!

golden ticketThink of saying YES as a golden ticket you give someone – share them wisely.  Remember, your employees will only have a few golden tickets, too.

What do you ask yourself before you say YES or NO?