When a leader burns out, suffers from task overload, or neglects health and relationships, they ultimately disengage, become apathetic, and begin to “crash” as a leader.
So, what’s the solution?
Leaders need to learn how to find peace and balance for life-long peak performance. And, you’ll find multiple best practices to do that in this article (including how to say “no”).
Learn to Say No
Peace and balance begin with effective time management. If you can’t effectively manage your time, you’ll struggle to find peace and balance. So, here are time-management best practices that allow peace and balance to coexist with peak performance:
- Use a quality planner (paper or digital) to manage your time
- Pre-week plan to know what matters most (and what doesn’t)
- Set clear priorities by role for the week, and schedule your priorities first
- Learn to delegate tasks
- Take time for self-care (it’s essential, so schedule “personal” time and take breaks)
- Prioritize time for key relationships
- Learn to say no when something isn’t what matters most and doesn’t work with your schedule
Learn to say no, particularly if you’re task saturated. You can say no to anything you feel uncomfortable with, or that you do not have time or energy for, or that does not align with your vision, goals, and pre-week planning priorities.
This could include requests from friends, family, colleagues, or even your boss. It is important to be able to say no politely and assertively, so that you can protect your time and energy and avoid overcommitting yourself. Here are a few tips to politely saying no:
- Be direct and honest. State clearly and directly that you are unable to do what is being asked.
- Be brief. There is no need to go into a long explanation as to why you are saying no. A simple “I’m sorry, but I’m unable to do that” is sufficient.
- Be firm but polite. It is important to be firm in your refusal, but you should also be polite and respectful of the person making the request.
- Offer an alternative. This is important — it shows you’re not simply being difficult and want to help, even if you cannot do what is being asked of you now.
Examples of How to Say No
Here are some examples of how to politely say no in different situations:
- To a friend who asks you to go to a party: “I’m sorry, but I can’t make it to the party this weekend. I’ve made some commitments I can’t change.”
- To a colleague who asks you to take on an extra project: “I’m flattered that you asked me, but I’m already working on a lot of projects, so I’m not sure I have the bandwidth to deliver on additional projects.”
- To your boss who asks you to work late: “I’m sorry, I have a prior commitment this evening. I’m happy to work late on another night if that works for you.”
- To a manager who asks you take on a new task: “Thanks for thinking of me. My schedule right now is full, so I can do that, but it means I wouldn’t be doing this other task — would you prefer I do this one over that one?”
It is important to remember that you are not obligated to say yes to every request. It is okay to say no, especially if you need to protect your time and energy. By politely saying no, you can avoid overcommitting yourself and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
So, find peace and balance through effective time management and learning to say no. Use a planner, pre-week plan, schedule priorities first, prioritize time for your self (self-care), prioritize time for your relationships, and learn to say no when something encroaches on what matters most.
“Not many people can claim to be free of worry and stress, and there are ways to find peace and balance in the midst of chaos and the daily rush of life. You can find peace and balance each and every day. You don’t have to wait until all your challenges and stresses have passed. Peace is always yours to claim.” – Steve Shallenberger
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Leadership Development: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders
Do What Matters Most: The #1 Time-Management and Productivity Solution
The Six-Step Process: Six-Steps to Solve Your Biggest Challenges