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Do you know how to say no?

Here we go...the start of a new school year. It's the time of year when organizations and activities kick into gear and working parents are making choices about what sign our kids up to to get involved in.

Yes, it's the time of year when those of us who haven't perfected the art of saying no find ourselves saying yes much too often. But this is the year when many of us need to be the best we can be in ourworkplaces, which means figuring out your priorities before saying yes to taking on another project or joining an organization.

I just read a blog post by Larry Edmonds at Examiner.com who urges parents to set an example for their kids. He writes: "We should teach our children, through our role modeling, that balance between work and family life is one of the most important things we have the ability to create."

At my son's class orientation, he asked me to volunteer to help in his classroom. I'm pondering his request because I have a lot I want to accomplish workwise. As a role model, I want to teach my kids to strive to be the best in their careers. But I also want my son to see that education is important to me. If I'm going to take on a new commitment, its going to be in the schools. Edmonds' blog post reminded me that finding balance is something you work at, over and over, learning as you go how and when to say yes and no.

If you haven't gotten in right in the past, now's your chance. Figure out your priorities for the year and ask yourself, "Am I maintaining a work-life balance that presents me as positive role model?" How do you think your kids, co-workers, spouse, would answer that question?