If you want to take control of your time, one of the best things you can do is learn to say “no”.
Because, people want to fill up your time, and it's up to you to keep your time for what you want to spend it on.
If you had an extra 2 hours a day or an extra day in the week, how would you like to spend that extra time?
Seriously, think about it.
Would you want to…
- go to yoga class
- go on more dates
- go to the movies
- take a vacation
- spend more time with family
- spend less time with family 🙂
- write a book
If you don't know what to do with your time, you'll just keep letting it get filled up with the demands that other people place on you.
Learning to say NO
One of the principles I teach in my “Free Your Time, Free Your Life” program is to “Develop Patient Timelines”.
When the boss says, “I need this by Friday,” what should you do…
- Immediately say “Yes”
- Say “No” or …
- Say… “I have a lot on my plate right now. What would happen if I get it to you by Monday or Tuesday?”
The real answer is “It depends on the situation”, but most people don't even realize they have a choice.
When you have your own business, the boss can be even more demanding. That's why you should create “buffer time” when working on new projects.
There's something challenging and bonding about working with your team to pull all nighters and get everything finished just in the nick of time.
But what REALLY happened? Poor planning meant zero buffer time got built into the project to allow for the unforeseen.
And then after pulling off a miracle to get it done, the project might just sit on the boss' desk for 2 weeks anyway.
Most things aren't as urgent as people make them out to be.
If you ask for more time (buffer time) even if you don't need it, you'll eliminate a BIG chunk of stress…
Another thing you can do is start saying “no” to things completely.
“Can you do XYZ for me?”
“No, I already made plans to go to yoga class.” (Maybe not at that exact time, but by accepting their request, you reduce your extra available time.)
Is there NO ONE else in the world that can help them? Maybe they need to get creative (or humble) and ask a neighbor, catch a cab, walk, skip it completely, etc.
It's not always easy to say “no” because we feel guilty, we feel bad for their predicament, etc. But, it's not like you have to say “no”.
I just want you to see that you have options. And, if you want to change your life from STRESSED & OVERWHELMED to peaceful, relaxed, and fun, you need to start doing things differently.
Start building “buffer time” into projects and start saying “no”. You might even say “no” to the next 3 requests you get…
You'll get practice. You'll be able to see how people respond. And, you'll build up your “no” muscles. After that, you'll have more freedom to choose.
Enjoy your extra time!
And, be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below.