The reason you may not have enough time is that you don’t value yourself enough.
Do you give up your time when others ask? Is your time somehow less important than your spouse’s, your kids’ or your employer’s?
One of my staff members was driving her brother to work every day because his drivers license had been suspended because of drinking and driving. She was annoyed about it, so I started asking her questions. I can’t remember all the exact numbers, but they came out something like this.
How long would it take your brother to take the bus to work vs. driving? “About 40 minutes by bus vs. a 20 minute drive.”
How much of your time does it take to drive him to work? “About 20 minutes each way – 40 minutes a day.”
So, essentially, my staff member was giving up 40 minutes of her day to save her drunk-driving brother 40 minutes of his time. Until I pointed it out to her, I don’t think she had thought of it that way.
So what happened here? She was valuing her brother’s time more than her own.
She would have been far better off to keep her own time and let her brother take the bus. Perhaps the longer bus ride would help him learn his lesson about drinking and driving.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
While many people have this problem, if you are a women, you may have a more difficult time learning to value yourself.
Women’s time is often less valued in many cultures. Household chores and child raising are usually unpaid so this time is somehow seen as less valuable than the spouse’s time who works out of home. Many women take on more of the household responsibility and also have a career. But somehow, their time is seen as less important.
Steps to Value Yourself
Take these steps to take back your time and value yourself.
- “Me” Time – Set some uninterrupted me time each week where you get to go out and do what you want,guilt-free. It could be a hobby, time with friends, an artist’s date or whatever gives you pleasure.
- Say “No” – Learn to say no to new demands on your time as a default position or at least say “I’ll have to check my schedule and get back to you.” It is too easy for us to over commit our time. Saying no or checking your schedule is a way of protecting your time.
- Block Others – Sandburg’s comment about being careful not to let others spend your time is key. Do you have people who make assumptions and demands on your precious time? Do you have people who show up without warning and expect you to drop everything ? Don’t let them. When people show up unannounced, tell them you were about to go out and they should have called ahead. Be firm. If they don’t learn, be ruthless.
- Define Outcomes – Choose what outcomes you want to achieve with your time this week – outcomes that you value yourself. Ruthlessly strip out or minimize any activities that don’t lead to these outcomes. Set aside the top outcome time first and let other activities work around this critical block of time you have chosen to invest.
Is’t This Selfish?
No, not at all.
You can ONLY take care of others when you value yourself first. Taking care of yourself and building your physical and mental health makes you stronger so you can then choose who you want to help and how you want to give back to your community.
Others may say you are selfish but notice they aren’t jumping in to offer to take over the task they want you to do.
Need help setting time boundaries? Check out my time coaching programs.
Garland Coulson, “Captain Time”