How many times have you said I don’t have time?
I’d love to go to that party, but I don’t have time.
You need someone to help you move? Oh, I totally would, but I just don’t have time!
You want someone to go shopping with you for a new outfit and subsequently listen to your life’s problems? Gee, that sounds great, but I really don’t have time.
I should join the gym, but really, when would I ever find the time to go?
How many times, when you’ve said you don’t have time, have you really meant I’d rather sit on my ass and stare at a wall.
Or more appropriately, how many times have you thought I want to say no, but I just don’t know how?
At one of my meetup groups, the organizer used me as an example while soliciting for group bloggers: “I’m only looking for 500-or-so words once per month. People say they don’t have the time. Shanan does that almost daily on her own blog, and still writes for us!”
My response was, “I don’t have the time, either. But I still do it.”
And yet I still use the phrase: But I don’t have time!
Mostly it applies to things like working out, volunteering and going to parties. Basically, I say I don’t have time when my real answer is no.
Why are we so afraid to tell people no?
For most of my life, my default answer for anything and everything anyone needed was yes. If someone asked for volunteers, whether it be for a valid, noble cause or to be someone’s emotional punching bag, my hand would be the first one up in the room. I’ll tell you from first-hand experience, people-pleasing is exhausting and entirely ungratifying. I stayed in places where I wasn’t appreciated, doing tasks for people who didn’t respect my efforts. I’m not blaming anyone but myself; it’s just who I was, and it was a lesson I had to learn.
Over the past few years, I’ve taught myself to say yes only to those things that I truly want in my life. I’ve also gotten better at using the word no. I’ve come to recognize the “no time” phrase as a cop-out, and a new form of people-pleasing. Sometimes I use it to let others down gently. Other times I use it to delude myself.
I’m most definitely a work in progress.
While it is true that there are only a certain number of hours in the day, it’s a fallacy to believe that I’m not in control of how I fill my time for the majority of my time. It comes down to determining what’s important, and prioritizing appropriately. For me, it’s important to spend time with my kids and my husband. It’s also important that I devote time to my writing. And recently, I’ve stopped deluding myself into believing that I don’t have time to care for my physical health. Yes, I’ve given up some of that wall-staring time to hit the gym. Both my kids run a mile in under eight minutes. I need to at least be able to somewhat keep up with them.
Between work, kids, husband, writing, editing and trying to become not-so-lazy…. there’s not a lot of time. But the truth is, I do have time for those things that matter. As for the rest, don’t be surprised when I open my mouth and the word no falls out. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that I value my time.
When do you find yourself saying that you don’t have time? Is it true? Or do you really just want to say no?