This one Sunday, I sat in Dundrum town centre for several hours hoping to get some peace and quiet. Those were the days when pure silence in a shopping centre wasn’t based on it being deserted because of quarantine. It was a time that I had been so inundated with options of places to go that I simply set my phone to airplane mode so I could peacefully read my new book. That’s not to say that I’m sooooo popular, it’s more based on the fact that actually, plans are like buses – either one comes or they all arrive together or at least this was the case prior to pandemic-life. Therefore, disconnecting can elicit the most exceptional FOMO.
Thankfully, that particular day I purchased a book called ‘Fuck No!’. This bestseller by author Sarah Knight covers the topic of saying no to what we hate, what we are unsure about or simply can’t be bothered with. It can apply to all areas of life from work & friendships to random self-care. It reminds us that indeed, we don’t need to do anything out of obligation or because we think we should. Rather, it emphasises the importance of our own time and energy management as we go about our days and lives with clearer and more deliberate intention.
Sarah reminded me of what I already felt in my gut: indeed that we are here for a short time, not a long schedule-filled time. Therefore, we need to make the most of it and be clear on what we want and where we’re headed. For if we don’t know where we’re headed then how do we get there?
A big part (probably the biggest is how we spend our time). We have 24 hours in each day where we need to sleep, eat, work, exercise and maintain our sanity. In that time, we want to self-develop, form and navigate hobbies and that applies to those of us without kids. Add on top of that 1 or more children, pets, uninvited family members and friends plus social media time and being distracted and well… 24 hours can seem like not quite enough.
Being deliberate in what we say no to is as important as what we say yes to. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find this hard as you want to keep people happy and don’t want to miss out.
In quarantine life, this can apply to endless Zoom calls, phone conversations or even, walking the dog. It can mean that instead of having a ton of meetings that you send an email instead. It can also mean you take a rest rather than racing around pretending that productive is always better – it’s most definitely not always better.
Remember life before? This is a great time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t when it came to saying yes or no.
What does that look like and how has it left you as a person? Did you spend some time each week visiting people you didn’t necessarily like? Did you have an unhealthy balance between work and personal life and did you want to say yes to every plan that popped into your calendar? That’s okay either way, reflecting is key – that’s all.
Some considerations as you weigh up what works or not and where you want to say no when that yes pours out of your mouth.
When does your energy increase and when does it feel drained? Your body is always listening and can tell you when you’re invested or not. This is not to be confused by a reaction from your body when out of its comfort zone – start to listen and recognise what you’re being told.
Always ask yourself, ‘do I have the time for this?’ and could it be more of a pause and think about it rather than a ‘oh why did I bother?’ kind of reaction, afterwards.
What is your biggest goal you want to move towards and how are you going to get there? In what way can you get there and what do you have to say yes to? This can be broken down by looking at your time, what resources you have available and your ‘why’ behind what you do. In any way that you can, honour your goal and maintain that as much as possible.
Know the reasons for the yeses and know yourself. Be aware that we are here for a certain amount of time and being as intentional as possible is necessary to get the most from our days and goals.