Learning to Say the N word

I just had a look back at some of the blogs I’ve written over the last year and realized the theme of time management has come up quite often. Hmmm. I wonder why. I’m good at managing time. Why am I obsessed with writing about it?

Well, aha! I’m not so good at it after all. I’m much better at organizing other people’s time than my own. Is that because I thrive in chaos? Do my best under pressure? Possibly. I’ll blame that on years of being a newspaper reporter and living under constant deadlines.

But those days are long gone, and I should have been able to retrain myself and take a more relaxed approach to life and time. Now that I am older, I can still kick it into high gear and burn the candle at both ends, but let me tell you, it takes much longer to bounce back. For example, I just participated in an art show and sale. This is the first I’ve done in several years, having decided to put my art in stores and let someone else worry about selling it. This was a special event, and I decided to come out of hiding and give it a go. Yikes! Of course, I had nothing ready. So rather than say no and opt out of the show, I went full tilt to create, create, create. In my haste, I had a few mishaps and had to create more. Create turned into produce. The fun was gone. Thank goodness it was worth it in the end, but I was exhausted. I turned into a complete couch potato, getting up only to refill my glass of wine. (Where did that box go?) And now, a couple days later, I am still exhausted.

Should I have said “NO” to participating in the art show and sale? I don’t think so. But I could have said no to a few other things along the way and focused on what I set out to do when I retired. And that was to gradually build an inventory rather than do everything at the last minute. So, what happened? Life got in the way. I used to think work got in the way of doing the things I really wanted to do, but now I know that it is poor time management that gets in the way. It’s all about balance.

Learning to be a good time manager is all about knowing when to say no. Learning to say no is all about recognizing what nourishes your soul and sometimes questioning your reasoning. Do you really need to join that committee? Why? What will it bring to your life? Do you really need to attend that meeting? Why? What will it bring to your life? Do you really need to go to that event? Why? What will it bring to your life?

If you have trouble answering those questions, maybe the universe is trying to tell you not to succumb to whatever pressure you feel to say yes to everything. Perhaps there is another way to participate. Is the event recorded? Can you be an associate member of the group and not a board or committee member? Who are you trying to impress? On the other hand, if your answers come easily and seem to resonate with your heart, then do it!

There are so many wonderful opportunities out there—so many causes to support, groups to work with, and ideas to bring to life. There isn’t enough time to do everything, and that is okay. My over-involvement in things has left me feeling a bit overwhelmed and overworked, two feelings I harboured during my working days and the main reasons I left my job. I wanted to reclaim my time, calm my life, and let go of stress before it got the best of me. I sure don’t want to get into that position again. I realize now that I suffer from FOMO: Fear of Missing Out.

So now I find myself re-examining things again. Maybe I just need a schedule. It’s time to take stock and figure out what my priorities are so that I can make the most of my retirement hours and still have time for myself. For the unexpected. For fun, for laughter, for lazy days. For me. Working 12 hours a week is providing me with a much-needed anchor. Since I don’t like to renege on my commitments, for now, I must find the best way to work around them and keep some sanity in my life. Most commitments have a shelf life, and when one expires, I need to remember to think twice before signing up for another term or a brand-new committee. Famous last words, right?

So please, if you have a great idea that is begging to be brought to life, don’t ask me right now. Give me a few months. Right now, I’m busy trying to get “unbusy”. I’m making a to-do list, and my “day off” doesn’t include starting a new project. It means doing nothing. So, maybe I’ll do some housework (probably not!), or maybe I’ll go see a friend. Or maybe I will bake. Hmmm. So many options and no commitments.

Enjoy YOUR day!

Interesting Reads & Things

Learning to say ‘NO’ – time management in retirement – postworksavvy

Repurposing Retirement

How to Say NO Without Feeling Guilty: 10 Effective Ways – Bright Freak

How to say no to others (and why you shouldn’t feel guilty) (betterup.com)

How to (Gracefully) Say No – YouTube

11 Things You Should Say “NO” To – YouTube

Day 1 of Retirement — what to do? Say No to everything. – YouTube

How To Say No to People Without Feeling Guilty In 3 Simple Steps – YouTube


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