We are a culture of busyness.
If it were not so, why would so many of us feel the need to always be doing something:
- checking email
- checking voicemail
- updating our Facebook status
- working on weekends
- making calls
- receiving calls
- commenting on blogs
- and so on and so on ad infinitum?!
If it were not so, how could David Allen achieve legendary status for teaching us how to get things done? If it were not so, how could so many of us feel overworked, overwhelmed, stretched too thin, stressed out, worn out, and fed up with work and family life?
And you know what? I’m as busy as you are. The calendar picture above is a realscreenshot of my real calendar…or at least the real expectations others have upon my time. I obviously don’t fulfill all those expectations all the time because, quite honestly, not only is there no way for me to simultaneously be four places at once but I don’t need to meet all those expectations.
That last part is in italics because it is important. Once more with feeling:
You and I don’t need to meet everyone else’s expectations.
This is a simple but profound concept…and one that is terribly liberating. I’m not suggesting we merely toss everyone else’s expectations aside with blatant disregard. People are extremely important and can/do/must play a role in shaping what we choose to do, but ultimately the decision is yours and mine.
What I am saying is that you don’t have to do everything (and you shouldn’t), and you don’t have to feel guilty about not doing it all.
It’s okay to say no.
When we free up our time from the tyranny of everyone else’s expectations, it frees us to focus on what is truly important–it frees our time to spend it with those we love and to spend it serving others.
It’s up to you.