Saying no is hard. You may fear the idea of disappointing someone, or feel like you’re missing out on an opportunity by declining an invitation. You want to do it all, but can you actually do it all? Quick answer: no.
Prioritising your time as a business leader is no small task. In fact, it requires a lot more discipline than many first realise. Your energy is a finite that is constantly in demand. Learning how to delegate is key to continued productivity and longevity.
Here are three strategies to freeing space in your diary and stop overcommitting:
Burnout is real. Preventative action should be put in place to avoid it at all costs. Start by regarding your energy output like a phone battery. Everything you do in a day uses battery life. Prioritise your time (and energy) so you have enough fuel to power through.
Assess the value of an opportunity by asking yourself:
“What purpose does this serve?”
“Is it meaningful to me?”
“How will this help the company?”
“Will it put me at an advantage over my competition?”
Don’t forget, balance is everything.
It’s a complement to be invited to speak at an event or attend a conference. Saying yes means opening yourself up to more opportunities, which in turn fuels success, right?
While this may be the case when you’re starting out, you’ll eventually reach a point when accepting every invitation that comes your way is no longer beneficial. Think about whether or not it is actually a productive use of your time, or just keeping you busy.
If you can’t connect with potential clients, enhance your brand awareness to new audiences or increase social media engagement, then what’s the point? When you’re unable to sift out a clear purpose that also brings you value, politely decline the offer.
There are different ways to say yes (while still saying no). Just because it’s not worth your time, doesn’t mean it’s not worth someone else’s.
Don’t be afraid to pass on the invite to someone on your team who is eager to make connections and build their name. This doubles as an employee retention strategy, because it shows you’re invested in their future and trust them as an ambassador to the company.