I am one of those people who finds it difficult to say NO.
Whether it’s big or small. A social event. A formal meeting. A casual catch up. Asked to do a favour. Something came up last minute can you help? Oh you’re at home you’re not too busy can you...
I don’t want conflict. I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I don’t want to offend or embarrass anyone. I usually smile uncomfortably and say YES to everything.
To my detriment it had created a ‘busy’ schedule.
You know what a ‘busy’ schedule looks like: Oh today I need to run over here and do that… then after that I have lunch with that person then I’ll have some time to help out with that then get everything sorted out for dinner tonight…
Then with this ‘busy’ schedule something of real value or importance would suddenly come up and I had no time available because I had already said YES to too many different things. I was too ‘busy’. I hated that feeling.
It can easily apply to your situation in the workplace, at home, with friends, with family or with your partner as after a while I realised that being ‘busy’ doesn’t necessarily mean I’m achieving anything worthwhile or feeling fulfilled.
So what’s the solution? I simply said NO!
I worked hard on building the confidence to say NO but I knew that I had to fight fiercely to protect my precious time. I would politely decline offers to a social catch up, painfully say NO to a formal event (who doesn’t love dressing up!), strategically offer alternative dates for lunch or just say NO without offering an explanation. Let me tell you this was not an overnight sensation. It took time and a lot of positive self talk to push forward.
So what was the net result? Time.
I now had the time to do the things that give me joy and fulfillment. If someone needed an emergency babysitter I am only too happy to help because I hadn’t overbooked myself said YES to other things. If I want to read, sit outside and get my daily dose of vitamin D, lounge with Eme or head out shopping – I have created the time to do it! How? By being selfish with my time.
I came across this quote by Derek Sivers – “Hell YES! Or No”
What’s the translation? Something should really excite you that an automatic response of HELL YEAH when you’re asked the question. If it doesn’t excite you enough then a simple reply is needed… No thank you. Seems harsh doesn’t it but as I think about it not everything will be an automatic ‘HELL YES’ response! Most things will be barely a yes rather then the enthusiastic ‘HECK YES’ that I am looking for.
So, again, what is the net result? TIME!
Now this is not a hard and fast rule. You can pick and choose how you spend your time but if you are guilty of being ‘too busy’ maybe it would be helpful to take a breath and pause to think about what you are achieving by ‘being busy’?
Maybe you are missing out on things but you’re ‘too busy’ to see what is going on around you. Last week I wrote about spending time with loved ones – are you ‘too busy’ to create time to spend with the important people around you? Are you stuck saying YES too often like I was and need to challenge yourself with Derek’s mantra of HECK YEAH! or no thanks.
I have had to work on myself to be MORE SELFISH. It sounds backward but the result is MORE TIME. With more time I can choose to spend it as I see fit and if something important comes up I can spend my time doing whatever needs to be done.
Do you feel overwhelmed and ‘too busy’. Do you find yourself saying – sorry I’m really busy that day? Are you missing out?
Fight for your time. Be selfish and have the courage to say NO!
Seize the day,