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Ep27: Say “Yes” Less

Welcome to a new series, the Minimalist Mantra of the Week, where we deliver a quick 5-minute episode with a phrase you can think on throughout the week.

This week’s mantra is: Say “Yes” Less

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Minimalist Mantra of the Week: Say “Yes” Less

We are huge fans of the saying:

When you say “Yes” to something, you’re saying “No” to something else.

Let’s unpack this statement a little, shall we?

Everyone has the same amount of time in the day. Though we try to squeeze out extra time by sleeping less or eating on the run, we still only end up with 24 hours in a day.

When someone approaches us with a request, each time we say “yes” – whether we like it or not – we’re squeezing something else out of our schedule.

What’s your default response when someone asks for a favor? Can you volunteer to be a room parent? Can you join this new special committee at work? Can you bring another casserole to so-and-so after she has her baby?

Requests like these are not always easy to decline.

You fear the worst. If I say no, it will damage our relationship. My co-workers will think I’m not pulling my weight. I’ll get passed up for that promotion. My neighbor will hate me forever. That new mother and baby may starve if I don’t bring her a meal!

Ok. I may be exaggerating slightly with that last one, but do you see where I’m going with this?

We often feel guilted into doing something we know isn’t in our best interest. We may not think that momma and baby will starve, but we worry they will think we don’t care if we don’t come through.

In the case of work opportunities, we say yes because we fear another opportunity won’t ever come along. We feel this strange compulsion to say yes when our brain is screaming “NO! NOT ANOTHER COMMITTEE! I can barely keep up with my current work!”

That is why our Minimalist Mantra of the Week is: Say “Yes” Less

What ends up happening in the work scenario is we say “yes” to the less important initiative, which forces us to work longer hours. Working longer hours is a nice way of saying: We said “NO” to our family. You said “no” to the work/family balance you need to keep for your own mental health. You feel guilty. You snap at your kids. You feel even guiltier. It’s a downward spiral.

Obviously, we can’t go around saying “NO” to everything. There are wonderful opportunities that would fulfill you, make you happier and add to your family’s well-being.

We just need to stop and evaluate which opportunities are which. And, be realistic about what that “yes” opportunity will push into the “no” pile.

Can your kids each join a sports team AND play an instrument? Does that playgroup meeting time push your toddler’s nap schedule out of whack? Would joining the gym mean you can’t afford your monthly date nights anymore?

Oftentimes, it’s not clear what you’re pushing in the “no” pile.

You think to yourself: “Well, I could make it work.”

Usually, that means you’re taking away any margin or breathing room in your schedule. You’re forced to rush from activity to activity. You feel stressed and stretched.

Everyone may be happy with you because you’re fulfilling their wishes, but you can’t live with yourself.

You just put your sanity on the “no” pile. And that’s never worth it!

So, as you’re going through your week, remember:

When you say “Yes” to something, you’re saying “No” to something else.

In other words, Say “Yes” Less.



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