Raise your hand if you’re tired, overworked, and stressed.

Now, I assume you’ve all got your hands raised. I’ve got both hands raised. This year the ante seems to have been upped. There’s so much more to do and say, but how do you prioritize it all? Who do you say “no” to? How do you say no? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has these thoughts flying around their mind!

I realized that much like I can’t wear everything in my closet at once, I can’t do everything at once. Just like all of my clothes wouldn’t fit on me if I tried to wear them all, I physically and mentally can’t do everything that’s brought forward to me. There’s beauty in saying no and pacing yourself and learning to do what you are most passionate about. But, how?

When I get dressed in the morning, I put on the essentials: a top, a pair of bottoms, and shoes. Everything falls into those three categories. Some days when the weather is cold I might add an extra layer, but those three categories inevitably remain the same. Just like with getting dressed, how I prioritize my time should also fall into a few select categories. After much soul-searching, I finally landed on three categories that make sense for me: Career/Blogging, Health & Fitness, and Family. Those are my basic necessities, my top, bottoms, and shoes, if you will. On occasion, when I have some downtime a fourth category might be added in.

Now when I assess opportunities, events, and how I will spend my time, I make it a point to ensure it maps to one of the categories that I determined are priorities to me. If it doesn’t fit one of those categories and I don’t have the time to add it in or it won’t bring me joy, I say “no” and pass on the opportunity.

What are your three categories?

Rachael Riviera Photography