Know When to Say “No”

Column 3 PicAt the beginning of the year, I deliberately shied away from making New Year’s resolutions. Not to be a rebel, although I have a bit of that in me. Instead, I just made a promise to myself to eat cleaner, hike more, work smarter and practice saying “no.”

No? So easy for toddlers to mouth every two seconds, but such a tough word to master for adults.

If you have school-age kids like me, you know you’ll always get sucked into volunteering both your time and money. In our 12 years in the school district, I have developed a deep regard for most of my kids’ teachers, coaches, troop leaders and church catechists. But I realized not too long ago that I can’t say “yes” to everything because it impacts the other areas of my life, like making a lucrative living as a single parent, for instance.

As a business owner and work-from-home mom, I encounter almost daily quandaries that test my resolve, from being someone’s last-minute airport ride to being a back-up childcare provider, just because I work remotely.

Here are some tips on how I navigated the long, treacherous road of demands on my time and continued my trek on the road to money savviness:

  • Choose wisely. Especially with volunteer work, choose only the causes that speak to you, be it your son’s Boy Scout troop or your church’s annual mission trip.
  • Weigh the pros and cons. This is especially true when accepting jobs or projects. Does a pay cut now mean more doors opening in the long run or is it a dead-end-kind-of-thing?
  • Offer an alternative. If your schedule and resources allow it, propose a plan B or meet in the middle. For an offer to meet over lunch, propose a quick coffee date. For an invitation to work on a major fundraiser, propose to take on a smaller role.
  • Don’t over-explain. Oftentimes, a firm “it’s-just-not-a-priority-right-now” answer will suffice.
  • Don’t feel guilty. Enough said.

Mira Reverente

Mira Reverente is a journalist, editor and blogger based in Southern California. She is always on the look-out for uplifting and local stories to tell from personal finance to fitness to family events. She currently writes and edits for a few regional publications. More

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