I thought I had my butt firmly in my seat on the “No Train.”
I’ve written about saying no a bunch of times. I’ve written about saying no a bunch of times (here, here, and here, for example.) I’ve heard other people say it a gagillion times. I thought I had it down.
But I realized that other people’s priorities had begun to creep onto my calendar, and they were edging my priorities out.
It’s kind of like when you put on a pair of underwear that doesn’t fit properly. You know the ones. They’re so cute so you don’t throw them away, even though the last time you wore them they bugged you all day. You put them on and get them all adjusted and all is well. And then after about 20 minutes of going about your day, they’re creeping into crevices they don’t belong in. If you don’t keep pulling at them you end up with the queen of wedgies. It’s massively uncomfortable, not to mention unattractive. (Hello, strange panty lines!)
Your time is the same.
If you don’t remain diligent, stuff that is not your priority creeps in.
You say yes to heading up that committee at your kids’ school because you think, “Oh, this is no big deal. It will be less than an hour a week!” But then you find yourself nose-deep in the papier-mâché centerpiece for a fundraiser that you’ve been working on for the past four hours. And the article you’ve been wanting to finish all week is nowhere near complete. This was not what you said yes to!
You tell an old colleague that you’ll go to lunch with her and look over her resume since she’s switching industries and wants to “pick your brain” about your experience. (PSA: Stop asking people to pick their brains. The information in their brains got there because they invested a lot of time, effort, and money. They don’t want it picked at.) Three hours later, you’re exhausted. You drive home feeling irritated that now you don’t have time for a workout, and rather than cooking the healthy meal you’d planned, you’re going to have to get takeout (again).
The yes’s seem harmless. And some genuinely are.
But when you say yes to four things that take a “mere” 45 minutes, that becomes more than 3 hours because of the prep time, the time itself, and then the time it takes to get refocused on your own priorities once you’re done.
The things you say yes to because you think they’re no big deal often become a much bigger deal than you thought.
Being discerning about what you say yes to – and making those yes’s really count – is the goal.
Committing to saying no more so that you can free up your time and energy for your priorities one time is not enough. You must remain ever-vigilant if you want to tame the creep.
The people who are able to make the biggest impact are able to do so because they know how to protect their time by saying no.
Yes, you will disappoint people.
Yes, some people will judge you for thinking you’re all that or too good for them. (But you know what? That’s going to happen anyway.)
Yes, it may feel uncomfortable.
But it’s better than letting someone else’s priorities run your life.
Over to you:
How do you tame the creep of other people’s agendas ending up all over your calendar? Where do you get stuck when it comes to saying no? Leave a comment below and let me know!
P.S. Just this week I’ve had several friends with close family members receive cancer diagnosis. I’ve cried with them and offered my love and prayers. I can only imagine how overwhelming and scary it must feel as a loved one of a cancer patient, or as an actual patient.
That’s why I’m so excited to share the work of my friend Dr. Kelly Turner with you. She did her doctorate work studying cases of spontaneous remission in cancer patients. She wrote a NY Times Bestselling book called Radical Remission sharing the results of her work.
Now she has a course where you can learn the 9 Healing Factors she found in her groundbreaking research of those who overcame cancer against all odds. The course is available until Friday, April 1st for a special discount for our community. Click here to learn more. Please pass this information along to anyone you know who it could make a difference for.