Time has spent a long time in the Chart of Top 10 Reasons Remarkable Women Don’t Do The Things They Want.
It’s up there at the very top with Money and the Voice in Our Heads that Tells Us We Can’t.
‘If I had more time, then…’
And of course, we all know that we can use our time differently and that we’re making choices, and yet there we are, making those choices anyway, never quite getting round to the thing we say we most want to do.
I’ve got to be honest, time isn’t usually my biggest problem – I’m usually quite the productivity machine – but I do have a Perfect System for creating overwhelm in my diary. Every three months or so I find myself with a life I didn’t mean to create, that’s so full of commitments and brilliant clients and things I have said yes to, that I feel tired looking at it. I sigh and wonder how it happened, and then go on a bit of a spring clean.
I’d prefer to find a different way. Because I know for sure that when the same thing keeps happening over and over again, it’s me doing something daft.
As my coach said to me recently, ‘Danielle, you just can’t be trusted with your own calendar’.
I did not like that much. I pride myself on having brilliant boundaries. I know how to say no to things I don’t want to do. Truly I do. That didn’t sound like me at all.
Yet when I looked at my calendar, I had to acknowledge he might have a point. I had created all of those appointments after all. And it was far from the first time.
I began to root around for an answer. Usually I think it’s in books, and for some reason I was drawn to a podcast on productivity. I didn’t like it much. And I was only half listening. Till I heard two things that created a big old BOOM in my head.
Ask yourself the question, ‘Would I be willing to drop everything else in my diary to do this tomorrow?’
Stupid question I thought, I honour my commitments. It would have to be a supremely amazing thing for me to be willing to cancel things I already have and make it happen.
“Ah, but maybe that’s the point” said the wise voice in my head, “keep going.”
I kept listening, slightly irritated but curious.
And then I heard it.
“Because you wonder why your diary is always so full? It’s because you say yes to something you aren’t willing to prioritise this week or this month, because it’s not that important in the grand scale of things, so you push it out to next month, where right now, there’s space. But when you get to next month, guess what you’re going to find? A diary that’s full of things that aren’t really a high priority, because that’s EXACTLY what you created’.
This friends. This is EXACTLY what I do.
I say, ‘Not now’ instead of ‘No’.
I look at the thing I’ve been asked to contribute to or participate in and I say, ‘It’s not so important that I’d move everything to make it happen. In fact, I don’t even want to do it in the next couple of weeks. So I’ll find a space somewhere in the future and I’ll put it there’.
Then when I get there, lo and behold, I look at my diary and feel tired. Because it turns out I didn’t want to do it that much at all and somehow I thought I might if it was two months in the future.
From today, I choose a new way.
It’s called Saying No.
And to be honest, I’m super excited about it.
So I’m just leaving this here today, in case it’s the same for you.
Want to play with me?
Let’s be remarkable together.