Sounds easy enough right? How many of us overcommit? Say yes to things when we want really want to say no? Feel pressure to join a board? Attend an event? Volunteer? Meet for lunch? Squeeze in one more meeting? One more conference call?
Guard your time – what a concept. Time is so precious and for so very long I made certain I filled every moment of the day. I said yes to social events, volunteer gatherings, commitments to mentor, etc. even when I truly didn’t want to say yes. I felt pressure to be available and do what others wanted me to do, never fully taking the time to do what I wanted. I did get better at this later in life. Mark and I would always make time just to do what we wanted – movies, sporting events, our endless list of activities. But there was always an overlay of expectation both personally and professionally to commit to things. On some level there were some things I really didn’t want to do but did them anyway.
Guarding one’s time is a key to balance. A key to focused priorities. A key to putting yourself first, making yourself a priority. Guarding one’s time means not being afraid to say no and to own your time and how you spend it.
Let’s practice guarding our time – preserving moments for ourselves for the things we choose to do. I have started this practice and have had two opportunities to say no to things and to do something for myself. It is difficult at first – guilt and pressure (real or perceived) can invade our thoughts. Practice will make perfect.