Start saying 'no' more.
If you're the guy who always says yes to everything, this one's for you. Sometimes, you just have to say no. When you're young, it's fun to say yes and do lots of things and help everyone out. But as you get older, you realise how precious your time and resources are. Very precious, and finite. So even though you want to say yes, or feel like you should say yes, I'm here to tell you to say no.
Saying yes is easy. People will like you. But you'll die miserable and alone because you never had the time or energy to work on your own stuff, or do your own thing. It's a constant balancing act. I get asked to do things all the time. And even though I've been saying no for years, it's still extremely difficult for me to decline anything. "Hey Erika, will you help me out with some designs for my new app?" "Hey Miss E, would you like to submit a painting into my exhibition?" "Dear Erika, you are invited to my dog's bar mitzvah!" Saying no. Yeah... naahh... yeah... no. No. Just no. If I had said yes to every acquaintance, friend-of-a-friend, former colleague, long lost cousin and random internet person - I'd never have done a single painting in my entire life. Because there would've been no time. And the reason I am now able to spend so much time doing what I love, is because I've learnt to pick and choose the things I say yes to. Unless you're being offered a paid gig - and you need the money - then you need to seriously consider if it's of benefit to you. Opportunities are not always opportune. And it's not just favours you need to say no to, sometimes it's apparent 'opportunities' as well. I often find myself in the position where I'm working on artwork for an upcoming exhibition, when suddenly I'm offered a placement in another exhibition around the same time. Saying yes would mean spending less time on each artwork, compromising the quality of both and spreading myself too thin. It's really really hard to say no to something that would be fun, but would also be detrimental to everything as a whole. But it can be so necessary. Saying no to that second exhibition means that I can fully focus on the one I committed to originally. Sorry Grandma. You can also say no to social and family things. Really. You can. I know it feels like you can't, but you absolutely can. If someone invites you out for coffee, and you know they've only asked you out because they need you for something - you can say no. If you've got a better use of your time, and you don't really owe them anything, don't feel obliged to say yes - just because they asked you. Try saying no. Ask yourself this, will attending this be of benefit to me now and in the long run? If no, don't go. If yes, get dressed. That rhyme isn't my best work, but you get the idea. If you've had a rough week, and you need some mental health time alone - you can say no to cousin Alfie's first communion. He probably won't really care if you don't come anyway. So don't feel obliged to go if you don't want to. I don't want no trolls. Another no that I seem to be using more and more these days is simply to conversation. The internet is a strange and wonderful place full of lonely people and trolls. If someone is of no benefit to you, do not waste your time and energy engaging them. Just this week, I had a random woman message me on Facebook saying that she's trying to make new friends. I was feeling charitable, so I said hello and threw her a line or two of conversation. It soon became excruciatingly boring, so I stopped replying. The next day, I realised that she'd blocked me completely. Say what? A random person starts a conversation with me, expects me to keep it going, and then blocks me when I don't. Crazy? Yes. You do not owe random people anything just because they ask for it. Especially trolls, if someone leaves a negative comment on your social media - do not feel the need to engage. If they bait you into lengthy and infuriating discussion for no reason other than to make you miserable - say no to that shit. Don't comment back. Leave their miserable existence hanging in the air alone and without acknowledgement. They feed off the energy you give them. Precious energy you'd be better of saving on something that matters.