Just Say No—To Overextending Yourself

by Steph Beth Nickel, CES Editor, Coach, and Critique Specialist

If you know me at all, you know that I’m eclectically-interested and eclectically-involved. For the most part, I thrive on having many different projects on the go at once.

But there are times . . .

This September my eldest is getting married in Scotland, which means not only will I be out of my office for the best parts of three weeks, but I also have “last minute” plans to get organized before we wing our way across the Pond.

I was hoping to get up north to visit with my friend and coauthor and also touch base with one of my favorite authors who has a summer home not too far from Deb. But alas, that is not going to happen.

And that’s okay . . .

In fact, it’s better than okay. Sometimes cramming just one more thing into our schedule—even something wonderful—is not the best option.

Are you busy?

You may now get up off the floor, wipe the tears from your eyes from laughing so hard, and continue reading.

Most of us are busy, but believe it or not, we can likely pare down our To Do list with a little concerted effort and the admission that superheroes only exist in the world of fiction. We also have to admit that not everything is as important as it may seem.

As Stephen Covey says, “We must not confuse the urgent with the important.”

Here’s my challenge to you:

  1. Grab your To Do list.
  2. Make sure it’s complete.
  3. Take a deep breath.
  4. Offer a prayer for wisdom and guidance.
  5. Pick up your pen.
  6. Cross off—or reschedule—at least two items from today’s list.
  7. Continue to do so well into the future until you become comfortable admitting that you just can’t do it all.

And guess what . . .

That’s a very good thing, for there are times the best option is to just say no.

Did you catch the most crucial step? If we made it a practice to not only add #4 to our list but also to bump it to #1, our lives would look much different.

Will we disappoint people at times? Sure we will.

Will we be disappointed? Absolutely! There are a lot of things we would like to do, a lot of things we feel we ought to do. But we need divine wisdom as we decide what to take on, what to postpone, and what to leave to someone else.

And if we make it a habit to include discretionary time on each day’s schedule, when something comes up that we weren’t planning on doing but feel we really ought to or want to, we won’t be stretched to the limit—or beyond.

For many of us, we have to watch out for our old nemesis, guilt. No is not a swear word.

Just remember, God has plans and purposes for us and we don’t want to be so overextended that we don’t recognize them when they come our way.

Just say no to overextending yourself.

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