“Let’s run a marathon together!”
“Have a look at this business opportunity, it would be so easy to integrate with what you are already doing”
“Do you want to come to this brilliant parenting class?”
“Your child could benefit from more tennis training”
“Let’s renovate the bathroom”
“Why don’t we fundraise for a school pool?”
A rich life is one with variety, growth and learning. It has exciting new things in it. We all crave new things, new activities and a change in pace.
I want a life like that, one that is fulfilling and interesting. I don’t want a boring life. Enticing opportunities and invitations are often being proposed to me. Most of them are pretty good ideas, that would in some way benefit my life. They might make me stronger, fitter, wealthier, calmer. But they will definitely make me busier.
If you feel like life is already full, be careful before you say Yes to something new.
Shiny things are so tempting. The fancy new bathroom would look so swish. It would be so satisfying to run a marathon. I could do with the extra money. It would so easy to say ‘Yes!’, and immediately commit to this fabulous new thing.
But pause and think before you commit. Is this what you really, truly want? Are you sure? And do you honestly have space for it?
There are times in your life when you have more space and more time. But there are also stages in life that are just plain busier.
When you have children, you have fewer hours in your day, they need somewhere between 1-8 hours of your time every single day, depending on their ages and stages. The years when you have small children are exhausting, and the tween years (until they can drive themselves to soccer practice) can need a lot of scheduling. The emotional needs of teen children, sneak up and surprise many parents, with how much face time is needed.
Work can also dominate your time. When you find a career that lights you up, you willingly work overtime to succeed and get ahead. When you are trying to make a name for yourself, you work hard. When you are trying to pay the mortgage and provide for your family, your put in the hours.
This is the rush hour of life. That period of time when child rearing and career needs peak and coincide with each other. These are the years where your plate is always full. It is common to feel overwhelmed during this stage of life.
If you are in the rush hour of life, you might need to say ‘No’ more. You might need to be kinder to yourself and protect your energy. You know how exhausted and difficult your children get when they have too much to do. Treat yourself like you would treat your overwhelmed child.
Take an honest look at what your priorities are right now, and a realistic appraisal of how many spare hours you have in your week. If you find some wasted time (usually this is any time spent watching screens) then you can say Yes. You can swap scrolling through social media for taking up a new project. But if your week is already pretty full, taking on that new business may not be such a good idea. The hours needed will have to be found somewhere. You might start the new business but stop having meals with your kids. You might project manage your bathroom renovation, and have to give up the gym to fit it in. You might add that new service to your business but will lose focus on the main revenue stream. Or you might start training for a marathon, and stop watching Netflix (Yes!). You will know immediately which one matters more to you.
It takes a bit of work to get clarity on when to say yes, and when to say No. Do the work, and think about how much space you currently have in your life.
This week I have said No to a new business opportunity, No to a renovation project, No to a fundraiser and No to an after-school class for my child. I have said Yes to an impromptu extra hour in my daughter’s class, Yes to a catch-up with my Dad, Yes to a parenting course, Yes to takeaways for dinner and Yes to a proposed play-date.
And that all feels good.