"When we say yes to someone, we say no to someone else."
One of the great truths in time management--one that Ray and I have continually reminded ourselves of--is that when you say yes to something, you say no to something else.
There is not enough time for everything. So, in saying yes to something, you are using up some of the limited amount of time that you have. You are filling a time slot with that activity, instead of some other activity. So, you are saying yes to one thing in that time slot--and no to something else that could go in that same time slot. Seldom does a person feel that he or she has time for everything; thus, when we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to something else.
Now, obviously, we could get all hung up on this and never do anything relaxing because that recreational activity is replacing something more noble or more productive. We could become so consumed with doing and accomplishing that we squeeze other people out of our lives. That is not desired either. Time with others, relaxation, and fun are all important aspects of our lives, too.
However, a thorough understanding of the fact that time is consumable--there is only so much of it--is necessary. It is so much harder to say no to outsiders (to say no to coaching baseball, leading speech and debate, working on a Christmas play, etc.) than it is to say no to those who are closest to us. If we learn to prioritize well, we can say yes to those things that we have determined ahead of time are priorities and no to those things that are not current priorities. We can say yes to the most important things and no to the less important things. Moreover, we can say yes to the most important people in our lives.
*Note: For several days, I will be excerpting material from our parenting book, “The Well-Trained Heart” about prioritizing. Following these posts, we will delve more deeply into organizing.