I have been thinking a lot about time lately. It has always been important to me to be organized about how I spend my time, but lately, between school, sports, church, and my coaching we have been in an even busier season of life. How I spend my time has everything to do with it my life feeling balanced to me ad my family. And it is an ongoing struggle that takes intention for me to do well. So in an effort to keep this intention on my radar I want to share with my first post in a 3-part series on making the most of your time. I hope this is as helpful for you as it is for me.
My post today is about weighing the “yes.” There are 3 questions to ask before you say “yes.” I have a hard time saying “no.” It is not just that I feel bad saying “no” when someone asks me to do something. When I look at it, loving being busy, wanting social time with others, enjoying interests in so many areas, and desiring to help others play into my “yeses”. And let’s be real…it’s also because I want others to like me and be pleased with me. All of the things that I say “yes” to are good things. So how do you draw boundaries when everything to get involved in is good? What makes it hard for you to say “no?”
Sometimes it takes a reality check that makes you realize your are saying “yes” to too much or to the wrong things. The sign that a reality check is coming can be something like feeling stressed out, people in your family feeling neglected, not having enough time to get your own household or family things done, or spreading yourself so thin that you realize you are not doing things well or in a quality kind of way.
So how can you decide when to say “yes” and when to say know “no?” Before I give you the 3 questions to ask yourself, I am going to say the most important thing is to TAKE TIME before you answer someone’s request of you. Ninety-nine percent of the time I want to give an immediate response. Sometimes it’s a knee jerk reaction and other times I think for a second…literally just a second and then answer. But the point is, I usually am not taking the time I need to think through a request of me.
The only way to be intentional about how you answer people’s bigger requests of you is to TAKE TIME beyond the present interaction with them to evaluate whether the request they have for you is the right one for you to say “yes” to. Take time away from the present conversation whether it is a few hours, a day, or a week. How much time you need will depend on the situation. And it will also depend on how you think, and depend on who you need to talk with to get input on the situation. As you are taking the time to think here are the 3 questions to ask yourself:
The Test: 3 Questions to Ask Before You Say “Yes”:
1) What is the Reason I Would Say “Yes” To This?
Know your why. What is behind your desire to say “yes.” What is it about this request that would cause you to say “yes?” If you really sit down and spend some time thinking or even list out the reasons, you may be surprised at what you find. You may find you have solid reasons for saying “yes” or you may find you have a hard time coming up with any reason to say “yes.”
2) Does It Fit With My Values and Priorities About How I Spend My Time?
One of the of the most important things to look at when looking at how you spend your time is, knowing what you want to spend your time on. Know the top 5 priorities or areas of life that you want to spend your time on and about what percentage of your time you want to be spent on each of them. Does the current request reflect those priorities?
3) Where Will I Fit the Time Needed To Do the Request in My Current Calendar and “To Dos?”
Maybe the request has passed through the other 2 questions in the test. Now it is time to get really practical. Do you actually have time to fit it in? This is a pretty important question. It is always better to error on the side of caution with this and not spread yourself too thin. If you’re not sure exactly how you will fit it in- a “no” is probably the answer you should be looking at.
Our time is so valuable. It is important that when we say “yes’ it reflects thought and the intent to be aligned with our values and calendar. I get that it is hard to say “no.” But as you take the time to evaluate all of those requests, you will find that you are happier and not spread as thin because you are intentional about making those “yeses” the right “yeses” for your time.