Working Smarter

Giving yourself permission to say no to busyness and yes to focus

Working smarter by saying no to busyness and yes to focus
Working smarter by saying no to busyness and yes to focus

Two deadlines, five emails, three phone calls, one meeting…all before lunch. And that’s not even counting taking care of home, family, pets, and (all too often in last place) yourself.

For successful entrepreneurs, this can be a pretty typical morning. As you grow your business and gain credibility and visibility, the demands on your time and talent grow as well. And when you think about scaling your business to reach that next level of success, the sense of overwhelm only increases.

Permission to say no

When I work with entrepreneurs I recommend several strategies for reducing overwhelm, but one of the most effective is the simple act of saying no.

And while saying no can be as simple as the sentence, “Thank you for asking, but I don’t have time for this project right now,” many successful business women resist it. Fear of missing out, fear of letting people down, or lack of clarity around what is essential and what isn’t can keep entrepreneurs in a state of busyness rather than productivity.

One of the things I enjoy most about working with clients in my mastermind and in private coaching is watching their business and personal lives flourish with greater ease than they ever thought possible once they give themselves the permission to say no.

Dial down the noise

One of my private clients recently experienced this firsthand. A highly successful professional, she was feeling pressured by a persuasive email to attend a media training event, and was also losing sleep over a decision she was being asked to make in a short amount of time. On top of that, she was overwhelmed and stressed by the hours she was spending on creating social media posts.

My first priority with her was to relieve the pressure so she had the presence of mind to think clearly about what was really important. I gave her one assignment: Take a break and breathe.

While she took a long weekend off, I took everything off her plate and sorted through it to identify what mattered. When we reconvened I helped her see there were items she could say no to.

That media training? With the dozens of media features she already has and a network of media connections who contact her as a source regularly, she did not need to spend the time or money on yet another training.

The time-sensitive decision? It was based on a timeline established by a person trying to sell her something, so she’s the one who’s really in the driver’s seat.

And the social media posts? Spreading herself thin posting to multiple platforms that were not equally effective for her was a waste of time; she’ll be happier and have greater impact with a targeted and strategic focus.

When we dial down the noise, we dial down the burnout and open up space for what brings us results–and joy.

Say no to busyness and yes to focus

When success brings you to a place where the obligations and choices are overwhelming, the most important thing you can do is pause. Stop the busyness and assess where you are and what you want, then develop a strategy before taking any further action.

When you are laser-focused each day, you will not only make progress in building your business, but you’ll do it without losing your sense of passion and purpose. Here’s to your success!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.