no moreCrowded schedules, stressed out lives, a to-do list a mile long and no end in sight. For many business owners, this is so familiar it has become their lifestyle.

Though it may be your present lifestyle, it isn’t one that you have to commit to, continue with or even put up with now. Your business is something that belongs to you and as such, you are the one making the decisions. If your decisions are causing all of the above, then you have far too many commitments and they are usually business based.

How do you change? Which commitments do you give up? How do you say no to more?

First, start with your goals. Goals are not always your friends. Quite often, they can rule your life, instead of your being in charge of them. Besides your own personal goals, you probably have goals that involve other business owners or associates. Though you may have promised them certain things or have deadlines and are committed to reaching them, leaving yourself more leeway and even saying no, will reduce your stress. Very rarely will you find that you accomplish less because of not reaching a certain goal at a certain time.

Unwanted commitments. These are commitments that you were usually talked into against your better judgement and didn’t want to make. Classes, talks, meetings – take your pick. Backing out of an unwanted commitment, though you may feel you are letting others down, will make you feel better immediately. There is no need to give a reason, just state that unfortunately, you are no longer available for such and such a thing and then change the subject. If anyone should ask why not, you can simply tell them that it is personal. Drop the guilt.

Self induced commitments. While you may not think these exist, most of us force commitments on ourselves. We absolutely have to do this, that or the other thing. Not to be confused with goals, self inducted commitments tend to be time wasters or not necessary and we put them in place to justify doing certain things. These could be anything from spending too much time on the computer to over cleaning or organizing our homes. We can all fill in our own blanks here for what would be considered a time waster in our lives that we still feel we have to do.

How to you stop committing yourself to things you really don’t want to do or don’t have the time for?

Besides just saying no, you can always soften the blow a little by adding that at this time, you can’t commit to anything but will have to get back to this person or that person (or yourself!) at a later date as your schedule will not allow for further commitments at the present time. Remind yourself of your convictions, that you will no longer commit to anything just to please others or to make yourself look busy.

Remember, the dictionary defines a commitment as “an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.” Once you start to think of it that way, you will find a way to cut down on anything that complicates your business and life and makes work more of a chore, instead of something you should be enjoying.

© Chris Draper, 2016

image courtesy of web.theabl