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It's okay to say no sometimes

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Scaling back your involvement

For those very involved in the community, it can be hard to say no. It can be hard not to be involved. When you are passionate and informed, as so many of us are, it can be easy to get in over your head in the volunteer circuit and it can be hard to say no to new requests for your efforts. But sometimes you have to say no. And it’s okay.

No!

It has happened again. Someone has called and said they need you on this project. Your skills, your passion and your well-known face. That's all well and good -- and it's darn flattering! -- but if you are that well-known in your community, you are already busy. Very busy. You might need not to commit to this cause. You might need to say no.

Too much is too much

As much as you want to be involved, if you are feeling overwhelmed with your volunteer-related commitments, it's a big sign. Step back. Too much is too much -- and you may be less effective in your various roles when you are overwhelmed. Paring back and doing less may help you to do more.

What is too much is, of course, highly individual, but it's likely you'll know. If your volunteer efforts make you feel more stressed than anything else, you need to rethink your level of involvement.

Yes, someone else WILL do it

It's easy to fall into the "If I don't do it, no one will" trap. Yeah, sometimes that's true -- but more often than not, if you say no, someone else will step up. Really! You just need to let that taking up of slack happen. Let it go. It's out of your control.

Prioritize family

An easy way to step back, to say no to another commitment -- and feel good about it -- is to remind yourself about putting your family first. You do it anyway, of course, but sometimes -- and especially after we've been particularly busy -- our family needs us even more. Your daughter needs more one-on-one time and your son needs you to be at his baseball game on time.

Just say No (Thank you!)

When you do say no, the response may be shock. But you always say yes, the person says. Surely, they may think, you don't really mean no. Surely, they think, they can convince you.

Stand firm. Give what you can, but know your limits. Say no thank you...and mean it.

More on saying no

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