Sometimes the process of decluttering and decrappification is not about messy rooms or an overabundance of possessions. Sometimes it is about time and commitments. There are a finite number of hours in each day, week, month, and year. How we apportion our time has an impact upon us.
For example, for the past three years I’ve been on the Board of Directors of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Maine. It’s been an interesting experience, and I enjoyed being with the people on the Board. However, when my term recently expired, I chose to not continue. The thing is, I found myself stretch thinly more often than not this past year. As much as I valued being on the Board, it wasn’t an essential use of my time.
I once read a suggestion that one should make a list of one’s top five time commitments, in terms of personal importance. Anything that didn’t make the list would then be considered optional. For me the top five commitments (in no particular order) are work, church, friends and family, home maintenance, and exercising. Among other things with which I was involved in varying degrees, the Board didn’t make the cut, so I cut it. Cutting commitments which aren’t essential, useful, or pleasurable frees up time for those which are, and decreases my stress. Give it a try!
Time can’t be made or found, but it can be prioritized.
Bilbo Baggins in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Rings said “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” There are times when I certainly can identify with that sentiment. It is all too easy to become overextended in terms of time and commitments. Between my job, working on my house, church committees, and other demands upon my time it often feels like I am squeezing 10 days into a 7 day week. But, all is not lost!
Manage your expectations and those of others by learning how to say “no”. If your plate is already full, it’s OK to say no to new requests or to delegate if appropriate. Reasonable people will understand when you explain why you decline such a request.
The thing is, some people have a hard time saying “no” and confuse honesty with politeness. The thing to remember is that if you say “yes” when you really don’t want to, you are not doing yourself anybody else any favors. It is not considerate to agree and then back out or proceed with resentment, especially when you knew you really didn’t want to do something in the first place.
Saying “no” is sometimes the nicest thing you can do, for others and for yourself.