As I often say on The Business Power Hour, we only have 28 hours per day, and there’s never enough time to fit everything in that we need to get done! And, while there are more then 150 million articles about “time management” on Google, I think that one of the biggest reasons we have such a lack of time is simply that we over-commit.
So, why does this happen, over and over and over and…
There’s the “guilt” factor. You know what I mean…you volunteer your time for an organization, and because you’re a great volunteer, they ask you to do more, and more, and more. “But, if you don’t do it, no one will!” is often what we hear in response when we decline. So, we do it – often at the cost of having time to do something else we want or need to do.
Then, of course, there are those people who pay us who want us to do more. That’s the “and other duties as assigned” part of our job description. Consultants face the same issues – we want to help our clients as much as we can, even when it’s “in addition” to what we’ve contracted to do.
And finally, friends and family often want us to do more. “Enough!” is often what we scream – either out loud or just to ourselves.
When I got sick – and then when I got better – I made a vow to myself to manage my time better. It does make it easier because when I over-commit, I often pay for it with incapacitating fatigue. So, I’ve learned to say “no” when I think it will be too much for me to handle.
But, it’s not easy. I don’t want to let people down. More importantly, I want to do the things I used to do!
Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that when we overextend too much and too often, it can cause both physical and mental problems. When that happens, we’re no good to anyone.
I’ll admit, it does make it easier for me to use cancer as a way to say “no.” (And sometimes, I use that excuse just to get out of something! Shhhhh!) I’d love to hear how you “politely” decline – or not-so-politely – when you’re asked to do something you simply don’t have time to do. Or, do you give up other things – especially the fun or extra things in life, just to please others?
Remember, “no” isn’t a dirty or nasty word. And, I think we’d all be better off if we said it more often.