Setting rules in advance eliminates the need for a direct “no”. It’s easier to let someone know about a rule than to personally reject their request.
Make time for the essential activities by setting boundaries on all your activities. Even your most important activities deserve boundaries so you can reduce stress and lived a balanced life.
Identify your deal breakers for common scenarios, like a maximum time you stay out, and make them into social contracts with others.
Your daily activities need buffers. Like the room between cars moving at fast speeds, buffers provide room to react to changing circumstances.
Allow yourself 50% more time than you estimate. Worst case, you end up surprised by extra time you find.
Prepare as early as possible so unexpected events don’t wrack your plans.
Prepare for failure by figuring out what activities will mitigate the damage it causes.
Your biggest obstacle holds back progress in all areas. If you can improve on it, everything else become easier.
To identify the correct obstacle, become clear on your intent. Your obstacle may even be a productive activity, just in the wrong direction.