Work Lately: Saying Yes – When you Should Say No

longchamp frames

Happy Thursday, friends. I was MIA yesterday because…… well, work. Gotta love it. Ever feel like you have your hands in too many pots sometimes? Yeah, that’s where I ended up yesterday. It’s all good, but this week has become a compilation of too many deadlines, things getting added to that to-do list – and well, an onslaught of emails.

Quality over quantity

virtual meeting

Ever say “yes” when you should have said “no?” Too many times in my case. I’ve had several lingering events and items both in my personal – and professional – life that I should have just said “no” to. But, I get in the headspace where I feel bad about turning something down – or saying no to a friend – and wind up in a place where I am forced to deliver.

It’s all good things, and I truly believe in the things I say “yes” to, otherwise I wouldn’t care as much. But, here we are: October, you are a busy month, my friend. As a woman, I feel the pressure to say yes to most projects that come my way. Because we haven’t always had the liberty to say no. It’s almost as if we are still trying to prove our worth in 2021. And ya know what? That mentality is just flat out wrong. We need to move away from the mindset that the more projects and items that we say “yes” to – that these things are a true measure of our worth and value in the workplace. That’s just not the case. I myself need to shift to a different mindset.

I want that mindset to be quality over quantity. I don’t want to find myself at 10 p.m. still in front of my computer just scrambling to get ahead – and I’ve found myself doing that this week. I call that space: my “in the weeds” moments. Instead, I would love that time to pursue some true passion projects of mine – one of them being this little corner of the internet that has brought such a fun way to decompress over this last year.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love my job and the work that I do (I’m in health care communications for those new around here). Many of the work projects I take on are truly fulfilling. But, I also say yes to some freelance opportunities – and some other events and projects that people ask me to be a part of. And it’s in those “extras” that my work becomes diluted. So, moving forward, I need to work on vetting some of those opportunities and examining whether it is more beneficial – or harmful to take on another thing.

The unicorn: work life balance

killens in the heights

Which brings me to the ever-evasive unicorn: that work life balance that everyone seems to talk about. I think it means something different for everyone. Some people thrive off of working – my husband is one of those people. His brain is non-stop, and he gets a rush out of it (he also owns his own business, so he doesn’t really have the liberty to turn it off). Some people feel most fulfilled doing the “life” part at full throttle. And if that’s you, amen! I like to work hard – and play hard. I’d like to think that the “life” part energizes me for the “work” aspect of my life. And work makes me appreciate just doing life!

Three tips to help combat burnout

longchamp frames

Some things I’ve done lately to focus on achieving that work life balance include trying to shut my computer down at 5:30 or 6 p.m. Putting a true stop to things allows me to focus on decompressing at the end of my day – even if it’s just for a little bit. If I need to (like I have this week), I can always answer urgent emails after I’ve done something for myself, like eat dinner.

Find a new “commute.” I’ve talked before about how I used to use my drive home at the end of the day as a way to physically distance myself from the office. I would call a friend – or my mom, and I get physically further away from the office and closer to my home, the woes of the day wore off. These days, because I’m working remotely, I don’t have that luxurious (but was it really?) drive home. So now, I have to find a way to physically remove myself from my office to get those off of work vibes going. These days, my husband and I wrap up around the same time, and we take a physical walk to get our evening started. We take the dogs, we chat – and we get out of the house. This has been such a great thing to look forward to at the end of my days.

lunchtime run

Getting up and moving when it’s possible. So many of us sit all day for work. We stare at our screens. We get on calls, we sit in on meetings – and we are flat out sedentary for 8-9 hours each day. I take every opportunity that I can to get up and get moving. Whether it’s listening in to a webinar while I walk around the block. Or maybe it means taking a walking meeting if it’s possible (and it’s not always). Or, maybe I’ve got 30 minutes on my schedule, and I’ve just checked something off of my to-do list, so I can take that opportunity to get some steps in. It’s energizing, friends. Give it a try!

And, I’m a huge proponent of practicing what you preach. So, I’m going to leave you with this: I really truly do these three things mentioned above, and there is no way that I would have survived the last year and a half on such a positive note without that framework in place. I’m better off because of it. If you find yourself in a spot where you are working too much, or you find yourself stuck in the house taking care of kids or pets – or just life getting in the way, give yourself a breather. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a new type of commute – or putting a hard stop to certain items on your daily agenda. Find the things that work for you – and embrace them.

Happy Thursday, friends.


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