If You Over
Commit, You Won't Submit:
Learning to Say "No"
Malandrinos- All Rights
the season of endless obligations--shopping, wrapping,
baking, decorating--and you still have to fit in everything
else you regularly do. It’s easy to over commit any time
during the year, but especially when the holiday season is
in full swing.
An overcommitted writer
usually isn’t the most productive writer. With little time
left in the day to dedicate to writing, your number of
submissions can go down or stop altogether.
Learning to say "no"
isn’t easy, but it is a sure fire way to make sure you
don’t overextend yourself this holiday season.
The first step in any
needed change is acknowledging the problem. Donna Birk, a
trainer, coach, and founder of People Builders, states
learning to say no is a three-stage process. In the first
stage, she says, we have "identified our need to learn to
say ‘no’ and make it one of our goals."
She also says this is
where we will identify opportunities from the past where we
could have said no, but didn’t.
But how do you use that
knowledge to manage your time better?
Consider these things
when deciding to take on something new.
Does this fit in
with my goals? Setting goals is essential for any
writer. Staying committed to your writing goals
will help you identify if a project is worth taking
How much is on
your calendar? Carefully examine your calendar when
asked to be part of another project. Find out how
much time you will need to commit to this new
project and take a critical look at if you have
that time available.
comfortable with this project? Sometimes the people
or the type of work involved might make you feel
uncomfortable working on a project.
Are you the best
person for this project? Identify how much
knowledge you have on the subject and if you are
the right person for it.
Now that you have given
thought to all these things, what happens if you have to
straight-forward, "No, I cannot help," is usually the best
answer, but it isn’t always easy. You almost feel like
you’re being mean or selfish. While you shouldn’t feel the
need to explain yourself, if you want to say "no" in a
gentler way you can try these ideas from Online
"I need to focus
on my career right now." There’s nothing wrong in
admitting that your writing is important to
"I don’t have any
room in my calendar." If your plate is full, then
comfortable with that." Taking on a project that
makes you uncomfortable will add unnecessary stress
to the situation.
"I have no
experience with that," or "This really is not my
strong suit." Admit your limitations up front. This
will allow you to work on things you do
The last thing you need
to consider is something that time management expert, Dr.
Donald Wetmore has touched upon. No one but you knows where
you are taking your life. If you keep saying "yes" when you
should be saying "no" then people will continue to take up
your time, possibly keeping you from accomplishing what you
really want to do.
Saying "no" and staying
focused on your writing goals will help you make the time
to submit this holiday season, and every day throughout the