Time Management and The Infinite Power of No

Congratulations, you made it to another year. I raise my glass of apple juice to you and yours. But before you start to write down your New Year’s Resolution in your bullet journal. Before it becomes a mild disappointment at the end of January due to how many of those resolutions you have failed to reach, I want to impart to you a piece of wisdom I learned last year — the infinite power of saying no.

The Power of No

No is an easy word to say that requires less than a second of thought to implement, but what if you had to say no to watching your favorite show or eating a piece of your favorite pie. Then the process of uttering such a word becomes much, much harder to bear.

If we treat the ability to say “no” as a common response to saving time and prioritizing what is important to us, it becomes a far less daunting task. Or maybe it doesn’t? Maybe we are so accustomed to wasting time and being afraid of taking a step forward in the direction that benefits us and those around us; that saying “no” becomes impossible. Maybe that’s why we have continued to say “yes” to things that make us regret setting goals and resolutions.

Sides of the Same Coin

It’s not to imply that saying “yes” is a bad thing; far too often, we believe that “yes” is a passive word, and our only ultimatum is to become hard-asses that only say no with a stern face and up-turned noses. The truth is that “yes” and “no” are two sides of the same coin.

If I say “no” to writing weekly to practice my skills and build new ones, I say “yes” to limiting my growth. If I say “no” to eating an extra piece of a pie, I say “yes” to managing my food intake. The “yes” and “no” aspects of time management operate on a balancing scale; whether you decide to take control of that scale or not, it is wholly up to you.

It Starts Within

I won’t glamorize the process it takes to change or create routines that work for you. My writing routine is still heavily dependant on when my pain is low. But the process of learning when to say “no” has allowed me to push through moments of dejection and regret. Writing, like any pursuit in life, is an uphill battle that starts within; the sooner you learn how to tame your demons, the faster they become tools for your improvement.

As you look to this year for inspiration and growth, start within. Build processes and routines that involve saying no to the things that will not facilitate development in your life and those around you. Say no to practices and systems that take away from your growth. By the constant push to define life on your terms, you are sculpting your path one step at a time.

Upward and onward, my friend.

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