Pop Culture

Let go of having it all and learn how to say no

Can you have it all? Technically, no. You live in the information age, which means that you could spend the next month just reading blogs about, let's say, knitting, and still not get through them all. So, you technically CANNOT do everything.

But don't despair. It turns out that a satisfying life comes from quality, not quantity. Our brains have not gotten this memo, however, and so we have to compensate by saying stronger “yeses” and “nos” in our lives. Remember, every "yes" actually means a "no" to something else. If you say "yes" to your boss to work late, you are actually saying "no" to reading to your kids at night.

Most of us don't like making the hard choice to say "no," and so we say a weak "yes” to everything. Unfortunately, you then end up overwhelmed, stressed, angry, failing and in trouble. The key is to start treating your time as sacred by saying “yes” and “no” to the right things. Here's how:

1) Find your flavor. You have a particular way of managing your time that comes with its very own pitfalls. For example, maybe you add and add until it all explodes and you get sick, or maybe you are stingy about giving your time to the people you love. Find yours!

2) Pick your yeses. Mine are excelling in my career, spending quality time with my husband and kids, exercise and meditation. When I focus fully on being excellent at my “yeses,” my fear about not doing the “nos” fades away.

3) Pick your nos. This is the toughest part. I say "no" to mundane tasks that would be worth the money to outsource, frivolous Internet play, anything I will grumble about later, checking email when my kids are around, and emails longer than seven lines or that take more than six minutes to write. It was hard at first, but I got better at it, and so can you.

When you say "no" to something, you also give more weight to whatever is a "yes." That feels amazing, and makes you feel proud of your life. What are you going to start saying “no” to? Where can you say a stronger “yes”?

The Handel Group is offering TODAY viewers a free teleseminar on October 29th with Senior Coach Laurie Gerber, to help you clarify what is most important and get focused on it. Register here.