For some odd reason, I remain a work in progress on controlling my time and directing my energy…
October flew by. I know that most people I talk to feel the same way. It seems as though the days were long, but the month was short. It’s a phenomenon that I have no explanation for.
In my last post I was talking about slowing down in my daily tasks and paying attention to my daily tasks. While I have diligently followed through on my promise to myself, what that stillness illuminated was unexpected. While going at a slower pace, I realized that all of the open time that my slow and simple way of life has created was being pretty much wasted. There was a lot of procrastination being covered up by needless activities and events. When I wasn’t engaged in needlessness, I was cleaning something that didn’t need to be cleaned. The most prominent problem of all however, was that I was not sitting down in the beginning of the week to plan a rough draft of when things will get done. I was in fact flying by the seat of my pants. This does not work for anyone let alone someone managing a career, home, marriage, finances, child, projects, a boarding facility blah blah blah…you get the point.
I also realized that I say yes to things I don’t want to do in order to gain some sort of validation. I want to be helpful, needed even. But when I say yes to something, I am taking time away from something else. Usually that something else is actually me. Not that I don’t squeeze in a mud mask here and there, but the pampering of yesteryear feels ridiculously foreign as of now. I digress however because building a non basic self-care routine is a post for another time…once I figure it out.
With my recent revelations about my misused time, I sat down this past weekend to figure out where the holes in my preverbal fence were, and how I could mend them. I found plenty of being a “yes” women, plenty of mismanaged time with household responsibilities, and plenty of wasted hours in front of Netflix.
I had to be honest with myself, I was hiding out.
When you have some creative endeavor, a project, or an idea that you want to set free into the Universe, you first get really prudent about your time and energy. You take the time to put systems in place and you lay the foundation to build upon. After some time and hard work passes, you’re ready. Only if you are a perfectionist with a unhealthy fear of failure you will find odd ways to occupy the time you could spend launching. For instance, the other night I scrubbed my kitchen sink about three different times.
I don’t do this all of the time however. Last week a long time friend of mine and I went to a networking function after work. These are activities that I actually enjoy. Having a glass of wine and passing business cards is what he and I did often, and I have some very strong professional relationships that have turned friends because of these events. I greatly enjoy scheduling a coffee or a lunch with new contacts to grow or keep professional relationships strong. Business is an art to me and I love putting together mutually beneficial agreements that grow every person involved. These things need space and nurturing to go from germination to full bloom and I cannot have the attention or energy to lend to such healthy endeavors if I’m scrubbing perfectly cleaned counters again.
Back in my office the next day, I added my new contacts into my outlook, join up with them on LinkedIn, and sent an invite for a coffee meet up. I was able to set aside the time at work to email a wonderful non-profit organizer that I met at the event. I can’t wait to get to speak with her over a coffee with her this week, as what she does for non-profits, I do for law firms and I look forward to hearing what she has to say about her work. Now, if I was backlogged with work or over tired from hanging out where I didn’t want to be the night prior, I wouldn’t be able to meet her without 1. making a bad impression and 2. wasting her time. But because this meeting is important to me, I made huge buffers of time around the meet up. I scheduled things that normally get done that day to be finished up by Wednesday. When I was thinking over my life this weekend, I thought of this. I thought of how forthright I was in planning when something was important to me and I came to the conclusion that I was just bored with my daily day to day. I was in need of an upgrade and in order to do that I have to become very clear on what I want to accomplish this month, in 6 months, and by the end of next year. To do this, I’ll need to set up some buffers of time for flexibility. Just incase the Universe decides to get wily. So where will this extra time come from?
From within the 30 days that I dub NO-vember.
The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything – Warren Buffet
Have you ever gotten to November 1st and just felt like it’s a short trip into New Years? Me too. But not this year. I decided that NOvember is my month to reclaim my valuable time. We are all busy, but I want to be sure that what is occupying my time is going to fill me and not make me miserable. I’m going to disappoint some people. Others may end up not liking me at all, but some other people will get it, and maybe some others will re-evaluate what they give their time to as well. To hold myself accountable to all who enter here, below is my personal NO list for my new favorite month, NOvember;
For starters, I am saying NO to facebook’s trending. I no longer want the depression that accompanies pondering why Kylie Jenner dressing as scantily clad Christina Aguilera from the video Dirrty takes precedence over the clusterfuck that is Standing Rock and the Dakota pipeline. NO. Just…NO.
I’m saying NO grocery shopping on the weekends. It’s taken me this long to realize just how stupid that is. I’m saying NO to arguing with anyone; I’m just going to end the conversation even if I have proof to show them. Never has anyone ever recanted during a heated discussion so why bother. I’m saying NO to anything that will require me driving Dylan to my parents house for the night and then reorganizing the entire next day to go get him. I’m saying NO to Christmas shopping in NOvember. There is plenty of time to get things done and the harried nature of mass marketing trying to panic me isn’t going to pressure me into spending more than I plan to. NO.
I’m saying NO to travel on short notice. I’m saying NO anything and anyone that blocks my time to ride, write, or film. I’m saying NO to any add on purchase, like my candy bar habit, when I’m in a store. I’m not 5, I don’t need a “treat” for successfully purchasing toilet paper. And speaking of toilet paper, I’m going back to doing a semi-quarterly Costco trip to stock up on said product and saying NO to frequent errand runs. I’m saying NO to any opportunity where I get the immediate impression that I’m going to be lowballed, undervalued, or my talents are underutilized because my instinct is always accurate the first time. I’m saying NO to attending anything that feels like it won’t be fulfilling intellectually or spiritually. I am saying NO to anything that I do not want to attend, but feel like I should attend. I’m saying NO to doing it all myself. I will use my ability to outsource or re-negotiate. I’m saying NO to the crappy calls at work. It isn’t rude to end a non-productive call.
I’m saying NO to the occasional cocktail. Even if I only have 1 drink I never feel that well the next day. I work too hard to be out of bed before the sun to throw it away on an over priced and poorly made drink. (My occasional glass of Dark Horse cab however, is a staunch yes.) I’m saying NO to the unused gym membership and the accompanying guilt. My 3x per week 25 minute walk from home to work and back again is good enough, not to mention all of the bale throwing and stall mucking I do. I am saying NO to anything on a Sunday. Sunday = automatic NO. Sunday is horses, household, and weekly prep. I’m saying NO to balancing the accounts and bookkeeping more than 2x per month. The money isn’t going anywhere. No need to tuck it into bed every night. And to cap it all off, I’m saying NO to guilt. Oh the guilt of saying NO…it can be brutal, but I’m willing to take it on for the sake of forward momentum for all of my little pokers in the fire that need continuous stoking.
This list is already quite extensive, and I guarantee that it isn’t all inclusive, but this is a great start. As of this minute, I have exactly 3 things on my calendar for November and none of them I will be attending for more than 60 minutes. That’s it, and that’s all there is going to be in NOvember. As always, there will be “tests”. Michael taught me that as soon as you set out to start a new way of living in this world the Universe tests your commitment. In the case of NOvember, it took just 24 hours. The other day I got a major event invite that is taking place in Philadelphia. It sounds like it will be a killer time and no one will be coming in before 3am. Last month I would have said yes, even though the logistics for Michael and I to attend would look a quantum physics equation all written out. We so would have pushed it and as a result, all of our projects and business ventures that we’ve heavily invested in would suffer. So just like I once had to say no to Friday night parties to study for Monday morning’s exam, I have to say no to awesome things sometimes too.
It’s how you build your NO muscle.
Saying NO doesn’t have to hurt anyone, it can be done gracefully and in a way where no one can take issue. After this, if I master the word NO, I will be happy to write about it. For right now though, I’m in the same boat as all of the other thousands of people Googling etiquette videos on this very topic. The fact that there are so many videos, blog posts and articles on how to say NO is a true testament to just how many people are searching for the same peace while being a social animal by nature.
The way that I see it, our time is irreplaceable. So much of it is already utilized doing things that we are not fond of and have very little valuable return, (traffic jams anyone?) Or doing things that we have to do for survival, such as sleeping or exercising, what is left over needs to be used in ways that help grow us, fulfill us, and build us. I have found that no one is ever going to tell you that you have the right to decide how your time is spent. Everyone wants a piece of us and we love to feel needed. It’s our human-ness. What we have to understand about that human nature is that what we lend our time to really does matter because minutes add up over the course of a life.
Ok, so maybe no one is going to walk up to you and tell you that you don’t have to attend that crappy party, or have that drink with people that you don’t like, or attend that function that will set your dreams back a few days. So let me tell you instead. You don’t have to attend that crappy party, or have that drink with people that you don’t like, or attend that function that will set your dreams back a few days. You can choose instead to spend your time on your own creative endeavors or doing things that grow you as a person. The absolute truth is…you can do what you want.
Really, you can.
Do you know anyone who can benefit from saying NO to reclaim their life/time/dreams? Forward this on to them!
If you find yourself saying NO, don’t forget to tag me @jenna_prosceno with #NOvember
Jenna Prosceno is a conscious evolutionist blogger with the deep belief that anything and anyone can evolve into a higher state of being though purposeful intention, and she can show you how if you pay attention to the writing on the blog.