Sometimes, you need to say No

As women, we often have a hard time saying no. We like to make sure everyone is happy and everything is getting done. We also tend to think that we can make all of this happen by ourselves. Thus, we say yes to requests and pleas for help. Everytime.

Learning to say no is healthy. It will cut down on your stress and let you have time for the most important things in your life. Here are some situations when you should say no:

Feeling over-stressed or over-worked. Work and stress often come hand in hand. However, there is a limit. If you are feeling like nothing will ever get finished or you are having to sacrifice your family time for work, you need to say no to more projects and tasks.

You feel uncomfortable. If you are asked to do something that makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable, say no. You don’t want to compromise your morals or become wrapped up in something you don’t agree with. Trust your gut and say no.

Stick with your passion. If you get into the habit of saying yes to everything, you will end up working on projects that you aren’t passionate about. As a result, your work won’t be up to par and you won’t be happy. Stick with projects that you care about or think are important.

No is just a two letter word. It’s a simple word that will make a big impact when you learn to use it in the right situations.

Businessmoms, Getting the Most out of Your Situation

My day usually begins with a good-morning snuggle with my six-year-old, Belle. She is the best alarm clock ever. After I get up, I balance between getting myself ready and getting my children ready for the day. When everyone is finished, my husband Jeff takes the kids to school and I head off to work.

Being a mom and a professional has forced me to adjust my life plan. As a woman, my career path is not as linear as most men’s. I have to accommodate not only my schedule, but the schedules of my children. Luckily, today’s workplace is far more accommodating than in the past , but to get the most out of your work situation you have to be savvy.

Choose your Field Carefully

Before you decide on a direction, do your homework. Ask around. Does your target industry offer flexible schedules? Does the company you want to work for offer telecommuting options? With all the technology options available, it is easier than ever to make a non-traditional schedule work. Many companies realize offering innovative scheduling options to all employees creates more stability in their organization. However, getting the best situation will be easier if you know ahead of time what is offered.

Negotiate Well

Once you finally find the company you want to work for, it is time to negotiate your terms. Stating your terms up front will make for a better working relationship later. That means you need to know exactly what you want, what you are willing to give up and when you need to walk away.

When negotiating, it is recommended that you set the anchor; give the starting point (make it reasonable). Then work on framing your argument. You know why you’re worth what you want, so outline your points clearly, concisely and persuasively. Focus on what you can do, or currently do, for the company, rather than what they can do for you. Finding mutually beneficial positives makes you look like a good investment and will strengthen your ability to help them see things your way.

Pat Katepoo, founder of workoptions.com, offers all kinds of tips and articles that enable women to negotiate well for flexible work hours and time off. Check out her site for more tips and ideas.

Create a Support Network

We’ve all heard that old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.” While that is true in business, it is absolutely vital for moms. In the hustle and bustle of today’s world, it is impossible to be everywhere at once. My mom network makes being a mom a whole lot easier. They back me up and I back them up. My mom network makes the crazy, calm. They are an invaluable group of fantastic women, and I couldn’t do what I do without them.

Don’t have a mom network? Create one. Get to know your children’s friends. Connect with other moms on the soccer field or at dance recitals. If you’re too busy to meet people face-to-face, find a support group online. Websites like mom4profit.com and bluesuitmom.com create online communities with information specifically for busy businessmoms and mompreneurs. You can also check out babystepz.com for support and a community of mothers.

Balancing Work and Personal Life

One of the main challenges we women face today is how to find balance in our lives. Between the pressures at work and our lives at home, we walk a fine line. Let’s face it, that cell phone in your purse not only makes life convenient for you, but makes you accessible to everyone else . . . no matter where you are, or what you are doing. In this world of 24-hour accessibility it is easy to bring your work with you wherever you go. However, I am sure you will agree, that does not make for a very balanced life. Here are some five tips I use, to keep my life in check.

Learn to Say “No.”

I know that start-up that just solicited some freelance work from you would be an amazing opportunity. The money you would make from the job might even help you pay for that cruise you promised yourself you’d take (when you find the time). But honey, don’t do it! I know you’re amazing, and they know you’re amazing, but amazing still only has 24 hours in a day. Spreading yourself too thin will dilute the amazing; making you less productive, your work less fantastic and your private life nonexistent.

If finding balance isn’t important to you, then say yes. However, if you want to have your cake and eat it too, let that opportunity pass by. Learn to weigh your options and turn down projects you really don’t have time for, despite their “wow” factor. It won’t be easy, but it will help you find balance. Try putting things in perspective. I mean, when you’re lying on your death bed are you really going to wish you’d spent more time working? Probably not.

Start New Projects Right Away

It may be tempting to rationalize that new project to the back burner. After all, it isn’t due for several months, right? Wrong. Instead, find a moment and dig in as soon as possible. Enthusiasm for new projects not only may earn you some points with the boss, but is good for you. Planning ahead will help you anticipate problems, balance your schedule and manage your time more effectively. In the long run, the time you save by planning ahead will allow you to do the things you really want to do, whereas procrastination only leads to playing catch-up; an action that is completely without balance. So do yourself a favor, start that new project today, and earn yourself some leisure time tomorrow. Now that’s balance.

Leave Work at Work

When you’re at work, work hard and make it count. If you do, it will make it easier to feel justified in not taking it home with you. Sure, there are moments when you must work outside the normal work day. However, those should be the exception, not the rule. The most difficult part of this is turning your brain off; finding a new focus. If you’re like me, even if you are not at work you are thinking about ideas for new projects, who you can contact to help you with those projects, who you can delegate to, what you need to know etc. etc. etc. That combined with cell phones, email and the internet can make it really hard to leave your work at work. Find a way to distract yourself by learning to present in the moment. Be where you are. Let your surroundings become your new focus.

Unplug Occasionally

It seems that cell phones have become the adult security blanket; our link to the outside world. We take them with us everywhere, and I mean everywhere (y’all know what I’m talkin’ about). We interrupt conversations we are having with real people, so we can respond to text messages. We have relationships through social media sites instead of face-to-face. While this may be common, I am not entirely convinced it is healthy. Occasionally, we need to reconnect. That is why, to find a new relationship balance, you should unplug. While the gadgets in our lives are useful, they can be a distraction. Instead, try having a new life adventure sans electronic devices. Sometimes it’s nice not to be interrupted.

Take Time to Give Back

Sometimes the best way to realign your balance is step outside of yourself. With hundreds of community groups, charities and soup kitchens there are plenty of people to help you find a way to give back. My favorite way to volunteer in my community is to coach peewee soccer. I have coached teams ranging from five-year-olds to sixth graders. Since soccer is something that I already love, it isn’t a stretch for me to find the time to help others learn to love it too. Find something you love or something you’re good at, and work with that. You don’t have to go far to find a need. Just keep your eyes open and then step up. Helping others not only gives you a new sense of wellbeing, but also helps put things in perspective, leading to a more balanced and healthy life.

I hope these suggestions have been helpful. I look forward to hearing how you find balance. Make a comment and let me know.