When my daughter first started kindergarten I thought I would have so much time to really truly dedicate to my business. I remember that morning with her wearing a gray and yellow dress, light up Sketchers, and a ponytail… a far cry from her 3rd grade look of yoga pants and a long graphic tee!
As I sent her off, it was bittersweet. I was sad to see my little girl being so big but also proud as she ran into school without hesitation, lugging her oversized backpack. As a work at home mom, I was also quietly excited to be able to dive in full time to my business after years of juggling.
Pretty soon the requests started coming in… PTA, reading with the class, field trips, girl scouts, school pictures. I jumped at each chance to get into the classroom. I felt guilty saying no , so I would do the things I didn’t even want to. Before I knew it, I had less time than when she was in preschool only a few days a week.
Here I was back to working weekends and nights, volunteering for mom duties during the day, and not truly serving anyone… myself, my business or my family.
It took me almost all of kindergarten to figure out that I had to say no. In order to accomplish the things we want whether it be as a mom or an entrepreneur, we have to say no. Sometimes this means turning down a client project, saying no a social networking event, or simply pushing aside an idea that does not mesh with our goals .
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” – Steve Jobs
Saying no is something I constantly struggle with and have to remind myself of its importance. I recently had to turn down my own project, and this was difficult.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned redesigning this website in my post, Creative Mess. As a web designer, it’s of course important that my site looks great and to me, this means having a custom design. After carefully evaluating my balance of client projects, upcoming ProPhoto template shop launch, and other responsibilities, I had to face that I don’t have the time right now to create a custom website for my own business.
I thought about what I’d tell a client who needs a website in a week and followed my own advice. I went searching through some of my favorite Genesis child themes for one that was close to what I had in mind and found this beautiful minimalistic theme by Feast Design Co. Instead of spending days (maybe weeks) starting from scratch, I spent a day to customize this theme to feel more like my own. I really do love it.
We all know it can be hard to say no to our loved ones… even to teachers, churches and those in our community who ask for our time. The hardest is to say no to ourselves. I’m realizing more and more to accomplish the goals I want in business I have to master this. I have to say no to projects that aren’t profitable or ideas that won’t get me any closer to where I want to be.
What do you say no to? Do you have time for quiet moments, laughing with your family, or taking that yoga / kickboxing / CrossFit class you really love? Do you take time each week to work on your business, not just in your business?