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How To Listen To Your Inner Thoughts When Making Tough Decisions

How To Listen To Your Inner Thoughts When Making Tough Decisions

Finding the right way to listen to yourself so that you can make the best choice when facing a tough decision sometimes proves to be a really difficult task. More often than not, people tell you to calm down, breathe, take some ginseng and meditate, or to hang around the closest temple, yoga place, or park that you might happen to stumble upon.

But truth be told, you probably just don’t have the head for any of that. At times you feel like you just don’t know where to make the right turn (note: right in terms of correctness, eh!) and creating the mental calmness to reflect and think about a tough call is not that easy.

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If you have ever felt this way, you will know that after spinning your wheels for some crazy amount of time, just like me, you’ll probably decide to go dig around the web for some good ol’ useful no-nonsense advice.  Hopefully sooner than later, you’ll arrive at Lifehack and start reading something useful.

Let’s go over some practical, useful, no-mumbo-jumbo-required pointers that will help:

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1. Take a hike.

Literally—not the “long hike on a short pier” thing, but actually step outside of the area where you feel you cannot listen to yourself. The blaring TV, surround sound system, and scream and shouts scenario will not help, so step outside, go for a walk, and hunt for a space where you can actually sit for a moment and listen to yourself. Steer away from bars!

The idea is find a place where you can actually relax and no one will bother you. Once you find the right place, include also a virtual hike: turn off the cell phone, tablet or any electronical device that could distract you. It’s about having some quality time with yourself.

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2. Stop your pushy self on its tracks.

Do you find yourself fighting the uphill battle and doing your very best, even though all the signs point to a different direction? Well, you should have guessed by now that “that” is not the best approach; there’s a big difference between stubbornness and constancy—if you cannot tell them apart, well we have a situation that will require another post just for this topic. But, for a quick pointer, check how you feel about the situation; if you are uneasy, upset, tired, and about to require anger management support, your actions are stubbornness-based.

3. Patience is not passiveness.

Patience means you understand and are supportive; therefore, you do your very best to obtain the results you are looking for. This is the opposite of hoping things will magically fix themselves and doing nothing. Baking a cake takes time. Sure, you can crank up the temperature, but the end result will not be a cake in 10 minutes, but a half-burnt-half-raw-cake-mess that no one will dare to taste. Every process requires a certain sequence of steps, each with its own time frame.

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4. Prioritize in a consistent and consequential way.

Being in a tough call scenario means you have thought long and hard about the topic; therefore, make sure your actions are completely aligned to your actual decision, which in turn are fine-tuned to what’s best for you; keep in mind that you should define that not from an egotistic approach but from a reflective and responsible approach.

5. Ditch doubts and trust your judgment.

If you can think—which you obviously can—and have done precisely that throughout your decision-making process, have complete trust in yourself. Can you imagine how would you act without self-doubts and anxiety? Well, you can; you are more than capable enough to act upon your call. It isn’t about eliminating fear; it is about trusting yourself and your judgment. Go for it now!

Featured photo credit: tumblr_n4ef69szs71st5lhmo1_1280.jpg via morguefile.com

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

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