As we discussed last week, it’s critical to get clear on your essentials and move in that direction. What you say is essential and then what you do about it can be two very different things. I encourage you to really reflect on what is essential – and important – and then truly set boundaries when the requests keep coming that don’t keep up with that. Hopefully, after last week’s post, you have reflected on the essential, scheduled time for it and referred opportunities to others.
This week, here are steps 4 and 5 to finding your way out and focusing on the essential for your right now.
- Disengage from those areas that are not essential for you right now. This can be really challenging, especially if you are a people pleaser – or a recovering people pleaser. 🙂 You may really love to work on a community service project or serve in many ways at your local church. You may have lots of ideas on ways to grow your business or may feel like it would look good for you to sit on another committee or team at work. In the past, you may have been able to include several of these as your essential ares in previous seasons of life but they just don’t fit in your current season. You have to choose. And sometimes you have to choose to step away. Ideally, this can happen once you complete a term or season in a particular area, but sometimes, you just have to step away right away. Only you know what is essential and you need to walk in that direction as difficult as it may seem, but ultimately, you will find it much more rewarding because you can truly invest in those essential areas with your full attention, skills, passion and energy. I’m not suggesting that your essential areas have to be all about you – they can absolutely be in service to your community, church or others – but you have to choose which ones – not all.
- Graciously decline those things that don’t fit. You are always saying no to someone or something even if you aren’t saying no. Your no comes through your actions. When you keep saying yes to the non-essentials, you are actually saying no to the essentials because you don’t have time for them. I have a work project that has taken many years to get started. Our team keeps coming up with reasons why we haven’t started and like to focus our attention on the things outside of our control, but one of those reasons is because we collectively haven’t said no to other competing priorities – or essentials. Since we haven’t said no to others, so we have automatically said no to this project. One of the best ways to muster up the courage to say no is to pause before saying anything. This helps you reflect on whether you can say yes or no and whether it is really essential. For instance, you may have a request for a meeting that is interesting but not essential right now. You can decline that meeting and let them know that in order to fulfill existing commitments, you cannot participate. Michael Hyatt has some great additional ideas for this. Or, if someone wants to schedule a meeting the week you are on vacation, you don’t have to figure out a way to attend. Just simply let them know that you are unable to attend the meeting due to prior commitments. Another thing that you can do – that is SO hard sometimes – is to delete emails that are not relevant to you right now. I know you might think there may be some good information that you want to refer to later, but chances are you can “google it” to find it later if you are really needing the information. Email can dangerously clutter our lives and cloud our essentials. It’s ok to say no by hitting delete! 🙂
So what about you? What do you need to disengage in or decline in order to truly focus on the essentials in your life right now and escape that overwhelmed place?
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