Jan 10, 2015

Say No to Something This Year!

Time Management coaches, including myself, like to spout the maxim: "If you are saying yes, you are also saying no."

Meaning: when you agree to take something on, you are saying no to all the other possibilities that could fill that part of your day.  It's meant to help us realize that time is finite and has a limit, so choose carefully how you want to spend it. 

I have four large areas I'm working on this year. In order to give those goals the time they deserve, I have to let go of some stuff - physical things that take time to maintain, and various other things that sap my resources. 

Baby Gear and Clothes
I had a yard sale last year and got rid of a great pile of baby stuff, but I kept back the expensive items in the hopes of selling it on Craigslist or EBay.  I never got around to it, and watching it gather dust made me feel like a procrastinator with a capital "P". Once my brother and sister-in-law announced they were expecting, I gave it all to them.  I said No to setting up and monitoring online accounts, meeting strangers, packaging, mailing and an undetermined profit. I said yes to clear shelves, happy relatives, and the very satisfactory feeling of being of assistance to people I love.

my neglected little jungle fights for survival no more!
I used to give my plants a lot of attention. I obsessed over their bugs, and gave a lot of thought to organic fertilizers and chlorine-free water. When the kids came along, I gave away the big lush plants because they were being destroyed by chubby and curious hands. The smaller plants were moved to my office dormer behind a gate to save them from Child 1 and Child 2.  Since then, the care given to the plants has been sporadic.  Many times over the past four years I've saved them from pitifully drooping to robustly thriving again.  This fall I got busy and the specter of death looms over them again. 

I'm also going to dig out two sickly looking rhododendrons and an ever green that was damaged by snow last year.   It's time to put the ragtag flora and fauna in a compost pile, except I'm not doing that yet (another thing I'm saying no to this year.)

Bill Paying/Budget
My husband is going to take this over, and after 8 years of doing it, I'm so ready to pass the baton! With his involvement, we'll do much better with budgeting our daily expenses, and planning for the kids' education and retirement. I can continue to support our endeavors by staying within budget, couponing, and maintaining/increasing the value of our home with improvements, and generally being creative and thrifty. 

TV, Internet, Social Media Distractions
I like TV, and I cruise Facebook like it's Main Street on a Friday night in a small town. (Is there AA for this stuff?) But besides a little non-quality relaxation, what does it get me? There are so many other things I want to read about, so many interests I want to explore. But I have a hard time letting go of my screen fixes, because they're easy go-to's when my brain needs a coffee break. So this year, I'm employing the concept of Appointment Viewing; I'll make a special date with Downton Abbey (PBS) and Outlander (Starz).  And I've got a timer with an annoying buzzer to lessen the time suck effect of social media. I already know I'll fall off the wagon with Big Bang Theory and Friends reruns. But the times I DO succeed will be worth it. 

What does saying no get you? Some good stuff, like time and energy.  The less responsibility, physical stuff, and negative energy you have weighing you down, the more freedom you have. When you say no to ancillary demands, you can say yes to what matters to you. Your potential is boundless, possibilities are without borders, and your ability to do something meaningful is suddenly unlocked. Maybe you want to go back to school. Maybe you want to write the next great American novel. Maybe you just want get your hands dirty in a garden, treat yourself to regular massages, or spend quality time with your family.  But to do so, you must say no to things that are tethering you. What will you say no to, so that you can embrace what it is that you really want?

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