Your time is like a delicious cake and everyone wants piece.
Usually, cakes are meant to be shared evenly. However, unlike the cakes you and I learned to appreciate and share with others, your time was not meant to be shared evenly and blindly.
My time is extremely valuable to me; I’m extremely territorial about it. I am not afraid to voice my opinion when someone doesn’t treat it with the respect I think it deserves. Why? Because I used to give my time to everyone without any regards as to how it affected me.
And as a result, I missed a lot.
Personal goals, long term projects and even daily tasks; everything was pushed aside when others came knocking to grab a bite of my delicious cake.
Here is my personal take on why saying “No” is so hard and how you can overcome:
1# FOMO (fear of missing out)
If someone else does something, it must be worth doing right?
The FOMO trap ensnares you with curiosity. Your curiosity gets a hold of you. Keep in mind, the truth is that activities that are worth doing should not be sold with the old adage “you’re going to miss out”. In order to overcome, stay on target and don’t constantly question your choices. If the activity is really important, you’ll be able to schedule it at its proper time.
2# Fear of rejection and social isolation
If I say no, will they hate me for it?
At its core, saying no is a gateway to social conflict. We fear social conflict because in our primordial past being conflicted with our social circles meant losing its support which might lead to our own demise.
Don’t’ be irrational ;-). People nowadays have better things to do than to focus on isolating you socially. Saying “No” is socially acceptable. Try to overcome the challenge by looking at your time in the context of your goals and objectives as opposed to emotionally. There’s should be nothing emotional about your time. Your time is the space you operate to get things done, the sooner you come to term with it, the better.
3# Learn to say no by avoiding Guilt!
…But it’ll only take a minute of you time…
When someone comes to you, they come because they need something from you. Often, the best way to soften someone into helping is with guilt. Guilt is a form of emotional blackmail, right? The blackmailer is focusing on their needs, not yours! Overcome by confronting the offender.
4# No concept of time
How will I do it? Easy…
You may often underestimate the request, undertake it, and then get bogged down in a quagmire… Sound familiar? Once you undertake it, it will be nearly impossible to concede defeat. The only way to overcome this mistake is to quantify what needs to get done with a solid plan before committing. There is nothing wrong with saying “I need to think about it before committing”. That’s actually the rational response.
5# Inability to let go
…Just one more and I’m done…
I alluded to this earlier. Getting stuck in the quagmire… It’s really your fear of losing control; you can’t admit that you are stuck. This may be the toughest to overcome. You’ll have to take a leap of faith in spite of yourself and delegate, defer and even throw in the towel.
6# Helping others feels good
Of course I’ll help you, my pleasure!
When we help others, we feel good about ourselves. We feel good because we’re helping but also because we are really avoiding what we really should be doing at the moment. I am not banning your altruistic nature. However, I’m suggesting you stay honest with yourself as to why and when you should be altruistic.
To conclude, nowadays I appreciate that every moment counts for me. When every moment counts, managing time means making unpopular decisions. For me, these are critical decisions because those are exactly the decisions that help me achieve my personal objectives (not someone else’s.)
These are the decisions that will help you get things done!
I learned how to do more by saying “No” first. Only after I had complete control over my time, I could decide how I’m going to share it going forward.
Until next time.