One of the easiest ways to free up more time for yourself is to limit your responsibilities.
For those who work, this means that maybe you don’t accept the request to join another committee. Or maybe when you are at a meeting that goes past business hours, you politely excuse yourself and say you have an appointment. No one needs to know your reason for declining their request. If you feel obligated to give a reason, keep it short and give little details. Your personal life really isn’t their business.
Stay-at-home-moms/dads get pressured as well, although it may not be in a work environment. Your child’s team may need volunteers. The play group may need your assistance with a fundraiser or event. Unfortunately, the need for volunteers is permanent when your children are involved in activities. Not to say that you shouldn’t help out, but you also shouldn’t try to take on more than you can handle either.
If you find it too hard to say “no”, try saying “Let me think about it.” Then do some thinking about the issue and let the person know that it probably won’t fit in your schedule. Or you could come up with an alternative. Instead of taking the responsibility on by yourself, see if the job can be shared among the rest of the people in the group. As a personal example, I was asked to take charge of our school’s yearbook this year. Being a new teacher and desiring to still have a job next year, I accepted the request. But I made a good case for asking each grade level to contribute, which significantly decreased my work load. It wasn’t exactly a no, but it was an alternative solution that didn’t commit me to doing it all on my own.
You should never feel guilty for saying no to someone. Consider your personal goals. Would that extra assignment align with your goals? Probably not. If your top priority is more time for yourself or to be with your family, make that your focus. So what if your coworkers stand out more than you or the other parents get more recognition for their efforts? You can be at peace with yourself because, although recognition may be their top priority, it’s not yours. And doing what is important to you is what really matters.