Thriving in YOUR Super Busy Life!!
Success Stories and Challenges of Super Busy People! A blog for entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders who have too much on their plate.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Sunday, February 21, 2010
How to Manage Your Inner Critic
Many of my clients and several audience members often remark that they feel somewhat like an imposter because they're not as bright, capable or successful as others perceive them to be. They're often afraid someone may find out. If you share this issue, this article interestingly helps you manage your inner critic. If you need more help, 1-1 coaching may be the solution to help you break through your blocks and be more confident and successful in your own eyes. Call or email me to discuss your needs. And, don't worry, our conversations are strictly confidential!
View the Harvard Business Review article: How to Manage Your Inner Critic
Friday, February 12, 2010
To my amazement, and many others, my 78 year old dad flew up from Florida this afternoon by himself! He's never flown alone before. He asked his 98 year old aunt for advice because she's flown alone quite frequently. And, he has health issues! But, he was determined to be here for my niece's (his Granddaughter's) wedding this Sunday.
This makes me wonder, how often do we hold ourselves or others back because of what we perceive is possible or not possible?
I'm interested in your comments about this. Post here or email me privately!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I woke up this morning feeling absolutely defeated! After spending quite some time clearing a path through the snow yesterday and having just about every bone in my body aching, we got more snow! This morning our 450 foot long driveway that my 15 year old cleared down to the blacktop at around 2 pm yesterday was now covered in another 6-8 inches of heavy snow. My husband was stuck in NYC and had been there through the entire storm.
Although I got very little work accomplished yesterday because of the time spent clearing the sidewalk, driveway and cars, today was already shaping up to be the same! I really thought my life was already SuperBusy, this snow just added a whole other dimension that I certainly didn't need.
So, I'm curious, how many of you had to clear your plate to handle snow yesterday or today? How did you take care of what you weren't able to accomplish in other parts of your life?
Today I had a new appreciation for the people in Washington DC and that area who were dealt two big snow storms in less than a week and a definite yearning for those in sunny warm places. Hawaii here I come!!
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Coping with a Job you Hate
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Are YOU a Workaholic?
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Put Down the BlackBerry and Pay Attention
Are you a SuperBusy Mother who can't put down your BlackBerry??
I’m learning to put down the BlackBerry and pay attention - Busy Mama - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington
Labels: balanced life, balancing act, boundaries, boundary-setting, busy women, challenge, change, choices, etiquette, fears, hard working moms, life balance, multitasking, tips, work smarter, working mother
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Work (DIS)Satisfaction in the US
Did you read or hear about the new statistics on Work (DIS)Satisfaction in the US released this week? Check it out!
I am a colleague of Laura Berman Fortgang and authorized program facilitator for her Now What? program. Today I received Laura's latest newsletter and asked if I could share this information about growing job dissatisfaction in America.
Anyone who lived through the depression might have a good belly laugh at these statistics because earlier generations did not always have the luxury of being happy in their jobs--they did what they had to do because they had to. Happiness was not part of the equation.
HOWEVER, for the past few decades, job satisfaction has mattered but never more than during the 90's when the economy was good and people had choices as to where to work and how much to get paid. In the 90's you had to keep employees happy to keep them!
NOW, and in the last 9 years since 9/11, we have seen a progressive dip in satisfaction.
People are making more and more concessions to stay employed knowing the economy is not good and the job market is tough. More of their wages are going to pay for their health insurance and other benefits. They are seeing flat or no pay raises. Furthermore, something that the news reports did not account for was how many people are working harder and carrying more responsibility as more and more of their co-workers were being laid off.
At the core, however, as someone who works with people looking for the next horizon in their career, I find that there are other core reasons why work is not working.
In the recent movie, "Up In the Air", George Clooney's character, an HR rep who fires folks, said it so well when he said to someone who was losing his job: "How much did they first pay you to give up on your dream?"
In America, we are known for people having the freedom to pursue their dreams and think big, but often, people give up on their dream. Granted, sometimes it's for very practical reasons but our culture doesn't really support people's dreams in most workplaces. The bottom line rules, not the growth or satisfaction of the employee. We tell our kids and students to 'follow their dreams' and then, when they do, we ask them: "Well, how are you going to make a living at that?"
People also don't take responsibility for their own growth.Work satisfaction doesn't come from what you do but WHO you get to be when you are doing your job. IF you don't like who you get to be at your job, it is your responsibility to find ways to change that EVEN if your actual job dscription does not change.
People start coasting. Their life works well enough and they don't want to 'mess with what's working'. But is it really working? Dissatisfaction can set in so easily when we allow ourself to go unchallenged.
People allow their work drudgery to follow them home. It is possible to improve your life even if you can't improve your work. Instead of letting our work drudgery follow us home, we can invest in our private life and create a happiness that can make work palatable. Invest in creating family memories, indulge in a hobby, 'date' your spouse or partner, take classes, enrich your life!
People can find other opportunities, even in a tough economy. HEY! Then the obvious---gain the courage to look for other work! Invest in your worth as an employee with training or another degree or try your own biz if you can stomach it and bank roll it.
No one promised us we'd be happy at work, but you deserve to be. In other words, it's exactly what to aim for and yet no one is going to hand it to you. CREATE IT!
Reprinted with permission from Laura Berman Fortgang. Originally published in The Now What?® Newsletter,Volume Three Issue Bonus #1, January 7, 2010
Monday, January 04, 2010
No Time to Read This? Read This
Many of us use one system or another, or a hybrid-type system to manage the multiple tasks on our over-flowing plate. In this post written by Sue Shellenbarger for the Wall Street Journal Online on December 08, 2009, she analyzes three of the widely known time management systems and shares her personal experience from a brief trial using each method. In no particular order, Ms. Shellenbarger reports on David Allen's Getting Things Done; Francesco Cirillo's The Pomodoro Technique; and, FranklinCovey's Focus program. Although I've been helping people manage their productivity, focus and performance for years and have heard of two of the three she analyzed, I admit that I haven't studied any of the systems nor had any first-hand experience with any of them. The technique I use and help others incorporate into their SuperBusy lives is intuitive from my life experiences and that of the many clients I've had the privilege to coach over the years. So, as I read the descriptions and analysis I am honored to know that The Priority Pro utilizes many of the concepts and strategies that I didn't even know these experts have designed. What validation!! As I continue to hone my methods, maybe someday there will be a widely known method with my name attached but until then, I continue to be available to help the SuperBusy and to encourage people to use what works for them!
No Time to Read This? Read This
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Managing Change and Uncertainty
Change is inevitable – after all, nothing really stays the same. But in today’s challenging times, it seems like we’re on “uncertainty” overload, never knowing what will happen from one moment to the next. Here today, gone tomorrow – or, at the least, very different tomorrow.
Uncertainty bring stress and confusion, and while most of us would be quick to say that we want less stress and more certainty in our lives, what we really want is less of a stress reaction to what life is throwing our way.
We can’t choose what happens to us – but we can choose our responses to the situations we encounter. Let’s take a look at five different responses that people have to stressful situations. As you read through these five responses, you may want to think of a recent stressful event or news that you may have received, and see what your reaction to that event can teach you about how you habitually respond. You may have one type of response at work, and another at home, or you may react differently depending on who else is involved.
The first, and unfortunately all too common response to stressful events is to suffer and be a victim to it. People who respond this way don’t take action. Things happen TO them – and though they may complain and be generally miserable about it, they don’t take any steps to do anything. They allow life to control them, instead of the other way around. This way of responding is certainly not recommended, and eventually, it will take its toll on one’s physical and mental health.
The second type of response is to accept it the situation, and to get some perspective on it. Someone with this response may say “so what,” or perhaps get some perspective on the situation by asking if it will it matter in a year – or a week – or even in a day.
The third way to respond is to actually take steps to change the situation – taking action to bring it to resolution (or at least move toward resolution). This is a very powerful response, and one that many effective leaders employ.
The fourth way to respond is to avoid the situation. People responding this way make a decision not to get involved in a situation that they don’t see as concerning them, or upon which they can’t make an impact. For example, someone may choose not to get involved in a dispute going on within their office if it doesn’t directly involve them.
The fifth and final way that people generally respond to stress is to alter the experience of the situation. When we look at a situation differently, the experience itself changes. Changing perceptions is probably the most challenging of the responses, because we tend to be stuck in our own interpretations and assumptions about what’s happening, but it is also perhaps the most powerful of all.
It’s your world, and you can create it as you wish. Remember, what one person sees as stressful, another person barely notices, or sees as exciting and full of opportunity. How are you going to choose today?
(This was excerpted with permission from the E Factor Newsletter January 2009 - "Handling what life throws your way" © 2009 iPEC Coaching)
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Giving and Receiving in Spirit of the Holiday
During the holiday season there’s much ado about giving and receiving. We spend a lot of money buying gifts and valuable time shopping and wrapping these gifts. What often is forgotten in this hustle and bustle is the simplicity of the holiday spirit.
What can you give that’s not costly or time intensive?
What gifts have you received that haven’t been fully appreciated?
We had more than a foot of snow last week and several social engagements were canceled. I saw this as a gift of time! With the commitment removed, I now had several hours to prepare at home. I wrapped, decorated and baked. Now, I feel ahead of schedule and I'm actually looking forward to the parties being re-scheduled.
When I'm out and about shopping I consciously greet everyone with a smile. I allow drivers to take my parking space. I invite people with just a few items in front of me in line. I walk around humming Christmas carols and occasionally burst into song.
No, I'm not crazy...I'm simply enjoying the simplicity of giving and receiving. Look for the joy, spread it widely and you'll undoubtedly have a more joyous and happy holiday!
Wishing you peace, joy and happiness!!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
De-Stress Your Holidays
The following tips can help diminish the stress and avert accompanying low energy levels that may lead to greater susceptibility to illness, feeling blue, fatigue, irritability, and generally a negative holiday experience.
Ruthlessly plan ahead. With Thanksgiving already behind us, Hanukkah in full swing and Christmas and Kwanza just ahead, there’s less time for planning, but continue planning as much as possible. Set specific days on your calendar for activities such as baking, shopping, wrapping, and visiting friends or relatives. Also, be sure to schedule some relaxation time for yourself. The holidays will feel more manageable if you are well-rested.
Determine Your True Priorities. Manage your time rather than letting it manage you. Decide what your priorities are regarding holiday events such as parties, family functions, gift buying, cooking, and all other related activities. Put them in order of priority and give yourself ample time for each thing. DO NOT wait until the last minute unless absolutely necessary, or it will be hard for you to not feel pressure and stress.
Define Your Limits. Learn when & how to say “no” so that when you say it you mean it. You only have so many days and hours to squeeze in family, friends, business get togethers, gift buying, food preparation, gift wrapping, traveling, packing, etc. If you have extra time and the desire to help others, fine. However, make sure you have completed or scheduled what’s most important to you first. Others can cross your boundaries if you allow them. Remember that you don’t have to attend every party or event you’re invited to and if you’re not feeling up to it, you may politely cancel. There’s also no need to take on everything yourself, holidays are a time to enjoy, ask for help when you need it!
Let go of the need for Perfection. For many it is tough to accept your own limitations. Think about what you really have to do, and really want to do. Then, think about what you realistically have adequate time and energy to do. Give up unrealistic expectations. Follow those guidelines and you will perhaps do less and not see as many people, write as many holiday cards, or cook as many cookies or pies, but you will be much less stressed and enjoy the holidays considerably more. Simple concept. Put it on paper and stick to it. Cut yourself some slack!
Pace Yourself. Prepare for events in stages. Save and re-use your recipes and shopping lists from year-to-year because traditional holiday dinners vary little. If you are going to be cooking for a large group on one or more occasions, shop early, and prepare what you can in advance, whether it is the day before or the night before. Many types of casseroles, baked goods and snacks can be made 1-2 days prior and kept fresh in a freezer or refrigerator in sealed containers or their own cooking dish. If you have 100 cards to be addressed and mailed, block off 15-30 minutes every day to work on them starting 2-3 weeks before they need to be mailed. Or, better yet, create a mailing list with labels you use annually. Look for possible gift ideas throughout the year, purchase items on sale and put them away until the holiday comes! This alone can save much time (and money)! Also, you avoid the holiday crowds in the stores and malls. Accomplishing a few tasks at a time rather than doing it all at once can cut your stress level by a large amount. Stay organized and focused!
Use Your Computer To Shop And Send Greetings. Take advantage of the technology sitting on your desk or resting in the palm of your hand. One way to save time and energy is to do some of your shopping for gifts online! Most of the major gift and department stores have a web site, and most also have their catalog or many items in many categories online (with photos often) from which to choose. You can use credit cards using a secure server to protect your card number, or in many cases, you can pay by check, phone order or fax. Just about everything from CD's and videos to toys, jewelry, clothing, computers and computer accessories, and personal items, are available to order online. Use any of the major search engines to find the store address if you don’t know it. Virtual malls are also available through multiple sources. Additionally, you can use your computer to send virtual holiday cards, pictures, holiday newsletters, etc. to friends, business associates, and family online.
Help Others/Volunteer. This is especially good for the person who lives alone or is all alone as far as family and friends. There are many opportunities for you to create your own sense of "community" by being with people who are also alone and in most instances, far worse off than you physically and financially and perhaps emotionally, as well. You can volunteer your time to work at a food bank or soup kitchen where a holiday dinner is served and prepared; go to a local church or shelter to help feed the homeless and the poor; whatever, just be creative and look for opportunities you can contribute. The more you give, the more you will get back in blessings and good feelings yourself. It may not happen the same day or all at once, but it will happen. When you see that the best gift you can give is yourself, your spirits will rise and be reinforced with a warmth and strength which is better and longer lasting than any gift or holiday party.
Practice Patience & Good Deeds. Keep repeating to yourself when feeling rushed “I have plenty of time.” Hurrying is a struggle against time—that’s unhealthy. Adopt a more relaxed attitude. Let others in front of you in line (especially when they seem distressed), hold the door open for the person exiting with a handful of packages, give up the parking space, drop off something thoughtful to someone special to you just to show your appreciation & thankfulness, find the acts of kindness that make you feel good and do them repeatedly.
Sing, Hum, etc. (it doesn’t have to be out loud). Experience the joys of the holiday season by hearing the music. Let the music help ease your tensions. Some suggestions: 'Tis the season to be jolly (perfect if you’ve lost your sense of humor); Dashing through the Snow (helps you remember that although not everybody can dash through the snow, movement is absolutely essential to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being); Making a list, checking it twice (Don't expect your already overloaded mind to remember any more than your way home and the names of your immediate family members); you get the picture!
Exercise!! Yes, that’s right, even before the New Year’s resolutions! Having to park three miles away from any place peopled with shoppers gives you an excellent opportunity to squeeze in a little aerobic activity. Carrying your purchases back to that same location might be considered strength training. It's amazing how many ways you can work in a workout. However, do more than the credit card wrist twist; the lugging of packages; the raising your arm to mouth and opening wide—do real cardiovascular exercises at least 3 times per week for 20 minutes or more. You’ll be amazed at all the extra energy you create!
Avoid Or Be Very Moderate With Alcohol, Sugary Foods, Caffeine. Most holiday gatherings include the sharing or offering of alcoholic beverages, coffee and cakes, cookies, etc. Since many people use alcohol, caffeine and sweets as a way to combat stress and even depression, it is wise to limit your intake if you wish to limit your stress. These items are only a temporary stress reducer. Keep in mind, the best stress reducers are laughter, listening to and/or singing music, helping others, being loved and sharing love, and for many, association with their church or faith through private or public ceremonies and events.
Labels: balanced life, balancing act, boundary-setting, busy women, exercise, holidays, life balance, life satisfaction, perfectionism, Priorities, saying no, solutions, Super Busy, tips, work/life balance
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
What you put into it is what you get out of it!
Read an inspirational message about my daughter's cheer squad and how they came from way behind to win the National Championships. Look for the lessons of what you can apply in your own life to be the BEST!
Click here to read more: Welcome to MyPath: Full Plate: Put in What Matters!
I wasn't going to go to this competition because I was already booked to speak on both Wednesday and Thursday last week when they attended. However, when we thought on the previous Sunday that my daughter broke her fingers at a friend's house and I had the anxiety ridden week of Doctor's visits, Radiologist and the Pediatric Orthopedist to find that she had injured them very badly but they weren't fractured, I began re-thinking my original decision. The doctor would release her to allow her to perform but practice had to be minimized and her fingers needed to remain taped until the competition.
On top of that, the arrangements I made for her to travel with one of the coaches we've known for years had to be altered because the coach was traveling earlier and staying later. She was also bringing her entire family and would not be able to have her in their room. My husband encouraged me to go but I felt I couldn't because I had to honor my commitments to my clients.
I contacted my clients to check their flexibility with the date and was disappointed to learn that there was no flexibility. So, I had to make a quick decision. I had to look inside and ask myself some very important questions. In the end, I chose to go and to honor my commitment to my daughter as one of my key priorities. I quickly booked a flight and ground transportation and arranged to spend the one night I'd be there in one of the rooms booked for the team. I arranged for an alternate presenter from CIGNA to cover my presentation scheduled for one of their clients. Unfortunately, I couldn't go for the week though because I had to be back Thursday night to present one of my programs I had contracted to deliver. I traveled from NJ to FL for a quick overnight Tuesday-Wednesday. Being there gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to see my daughter and her team become National champions for the first time in the 44 years of the team's history. What an experience!! I am so glad I went!!
Focusing on what matters most may not always be easy but it's important to living a quality life with little or no regrets! If you want help creating the life you are meant to live, defining your key priorities, or achieving your goals, let me know - email email@example.com.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Welcome to MyPath: Full Plate: Put Gratitude on Your Plate
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Un-Turbo Charge from Your Super Busy Life
August is the number one month for vacations, but I haven't vacationed in August because I prefer to avoid crowds! This year our kids had the first week of November off from school and we took advantage of it. We spent a week at the beautiful islands of Turks and Caicos at the Beaches Family Resort. We had a 'real' vacation and as a result we came back relaxed and rejuvenated.
In this day in age, it’s nearly impossible to fully escape. I’d say that over 70% of your day is spent with your phone or computer. Whether or not your are using it, its there. You are thinking about it. Thinking about who might call you or text message you. And because you are thinking about it, you happen to break it out and read the news, send someone a message because your bored or worried about something, check Facebook, or surf the Net.
If you are planning a vacation, do yourself a favor and leave the work at home. You need to separate yourself from work if you are going to benefit from relaxing. Spending a week away from the office without my cell phone or laptop has truly given me the break I needed. Beings my husband couldn't totally unplug, he brought along his laptop and checked in briefly just a couple of times a day. Having the laptop nearby gave me the opportunity to keep clearing out the junk in my inbox so that I could concentrate on the important items left in my email once I returned.
I had the opportunity to spend quality time with my husband although my kids ditched us to hang out with some new friends they met at the resort.
Everyone needs a little R&R from time-to-time. Whether you plan just a few hours away or a couple of days, weeks or more, taking a break will help you re-focus while reconnecting with yourself and your loved ones.
Vacations are also good for a number of other reasons, too:
•Encourage Creativity: A good vacation can help you to reconnect with yourself and promote your creativity.
•Help Prevent Burnout: Workers who take time to relax away from the office are less prone to experience burnout, making you more productive than your overworked, under-rested counterparts. Vacations increase your quality of work and life.
•Can Help keep you Healthy: A relaxing vacation decreases stress and increases your health and well-being.
•Can Strengthen Relationships: Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong, helping you enjoy the good times more and helping you through the stress of the hard times. Likewise, spending time vacationing apart may also help strengthen relationships, too!
Enjoy life and your vacation on the beach or ski slopes, visiting museums, sightseeing, or simply relaxing in your own home or somewhere else, whatever you desire. Simply free your mind from the boundaries and pressure of your work while you can, and take advantage of what this world has to offer, before you realize its too late. In the long run it may prove to be a very advantageous way to spend your time.
The bottom line is that taking a some time away from the stresses of every day daily life can give you the break you need and deserve so that we can return to your regular life refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes your way.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Too Much On Her Plate Week: Prepare to Celebrate!
I was very surprised to see another professional specializing in helping busy women manage everything on their plate! I came across Melissa McCreery's site quite by accident. Melissa is a psychologist and an internationally certified life coach who is passionate about providing high quality solutions to smart, busy women who are tired of struggling with food and weight.
Melissa created "Too Much on Her Plate Week" (which aptly runs the week of her birthday!) from October 19-23 so that women can learn to get stuff off their plate, both literally and figuratively.
"Too Much on Her Plate Week calls attention to the more than 150 million professional women who are either employed by a business or as an independent professional in the United States. These women are often moms too, creating limited time and a lot of plate spinning (and juggling). The pressure to get it all done contributes further to many women’s struggles with weight and food."
In celebration of Too Much on Her Plate Week, Melissa is encouraging women to:
1. Carve out some time for yourself. The biggest mistake busy women make is not taking some time for self-care. Most often, it’s not that a professional woman can’t have it. It’s that they aren’t choosing to take it. Prioritize yourself.
2. Have a plan for eating and exercise. We tend to be great planners for the most part. Apply those skills to yourself and plan your meals and time for exercise.
3. Pay attention. Emotional eating – especially stress eating, often sneaks up on women. Pay attention to those times when you want something to eat and ask why.
I plan on calling Melissa and introducing myself! I can't imagine how many women we can help together!!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Welcome to MyPath: Full Plate
Welcome to MyPath: Full Plate
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Visit my BLOG - Full Plate at www.mypath.com and check out the other great career resources
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Increasing Workload Issues
I presented another "Too Much on my Plate" program yesterday for a corporate client.
Although most of the people in my audiences feel an intense pressure and overwhelm with the expectations placed on them at work, this audience seemed to suffer even more!
There was a field sales person who expressed his frustration with his work being driven down from higher level managers rather than customers or his own self-management of his client-base. He also has absolutely no support team at work to rely on or delegate work to.
This man sounded like he has star performer potential but yet the company with its bureaucracy and lean workforce, prohibits him from fully achieving his best.
All over, I hear similar concerns! Employees really want to do their best. They want to exceed customer expectations. They want to deliver on-time with high-quality results. Yet, even though many work an extended work week, including nights, weekends and vacation, there isn't enough time to accomplish everything that's expected. There's never any down time...any critical thinking time...any time for innovation...problem-solving...or even self-care.
Don't companies realize the potential cost to them? When the economy recovers, employees will seek out other more reasonable options. Companies are already faced with increasing health-care costs, lower quality products and services, poor relationships and teamwork, and more!
It's time to start respecting employees and for employees to start respecting themselves.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Effectively Saying "NO"
In all the years I've been operating my own business (since 1997) one thing that's been a consistent challenge for my coaching clients and audiences is saying no. I recently presented an updated program on Boundary-Setting and, of course, once again we tackled the issues around saying no. As a result, I've revised an article I was working on so that I can share it with audience members. Here I share part of it with you. If you'd like the complete article, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the "Saying No" article.
Saying "no" enables you to say "yes" to what matters most in your life.
“No” is one the most powerful two-letter words in the English language! However, saying “no” doesn’t come naturally for most people. We are conditioned to say “yes”, be agreeable and easy to work with.
If you’re one of those people who normally says “yes” when asked to do something or take responsibility for a new work project, sit on another school or church committee, become scout leader, be the baseball coach, or bake cookies for the local fundraiser or anything that will likely require more time than you realistically have available, than you need to first understand why you are prone to say yes so quickly and then learn more effective ways to say no.
We typically say yes because we:
...are afraid to say no;
...want to be liked;
...need to feel accepted;
...desire to please others;
...don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings;
...feel guilty when we say no;
...believe we can “do it all”.
If any of the reasons above describe you, saying no will undoubtedly make you feel uncomfortable or inadequate. There may be other reasons in addition to those listed, so be sure to recognize what prompts you to say yes, or avoid saying no. When you begin feeling totally overwhelmed, exhausted, resentful, and taken advantage of your attitude and productivity will likely suffer. If your life is overrun with responsibilities, jobs and commitments there’s little time left for your own tasks, fun and relaxation. One way to pare down your schedule is to get good at saying no to new commitments.
If you want more than ten super techniques to help you say no, remember to email me at email@example.com!
Saying no helps reduce stress levels and gives you time for what’s really important. Even though it may be difficult, at some point you need to stand your own ground and look out for yourself, because no one else is going to look out for you if you don't! Regardless of why you choose to say no, the keys to declining requests include:
+ maintain eye contact;
+ be firm, honest direct and convincing;
+ keep your explanation simple and succinct;
+ use a sympathetic but firm tone;
+ repeat your statement, change the subject or walk away, if necessary;
+ and, avoid making excuses (especially lengthy ones!).