According to Danielle LaPorte, in this piece, one of the (five) signs that you love yourself is that you mean what you say: “You value your time, you value your word, you Love yourself enough to know that every commitment you make—from the time you say you’ll show up, to lifetime vows—is sacred, because you are a sacred being. You say Yes when you mean Yes, and No when you mean No.”
I’d like to focus on the first part: the valuing of our time. Because so often we don’t. We say yes to commitments that we don’t want to do. We do things because others are doing them, and we assume that we have to follow suit. Because that’s how things are done, that’s how life is done. Or we just don’t think much about it. We just act and perform.
I was recently reading a great post by Allie Casazza about why she’s so hard to get a hold of. She writes: “I’m not that busy. I do homeschool my four children, run an online business from home with my husband, and travel full-time in our camper. But that doesn’t mean I’m busy- it just means I have a very full life. In this full life, I choose to be very careful with what takes up my time. It’s why I’m a ruthless editor of what comes into my home, of what gets a place on my calendar, and of what I commit to.”
That means that Allie has a virtual assistant who checks her email and a social media manager who runs her Facebook page. She’s also very selective about who she responds to, and she only checks her phone at certain times.
Maybe your work requires that you check email and text regularly, very regularly. Maybe you aren’t able to hire anyone to help with anything. Or maybe, after you reevaluate, really reevaluate, you realize that there is something you can change, even a minute change, that works for you.
Either way, what’s important here is that Allie took habits (responding to every single email or even most emails; being active on social media) that our society says are non-negotiable, and did what works best for her and her family.
What’s important is that Allie values her time (and thereby values herself). She sets boundaries. And she doesn’t apologize for doing so. She also writes:
“Last week was my writing week (I batch all my writing so it gets done within a few days and gets filtered out over the next month), and I’m always less available by phone during that week of the month. By Friday I had 19 unread text messages highlighted in red on my iPhone messaging app. That doesn’t have anything to do with popularity, it has to do with BOUNDARIES.
Listen, the fact that someone has your phone number doesn’t give them any right to reach you at any time and expect a response.
I responded to my husband, my mom, and my two closest friends of course. But I chose not to respond to a lot of other people who were reaching out for reasons less important than my writing and my family.”
What would your days look like if you started valuing your time? What would they look like if you started setting clear-cut, unshakeable boundaries, unapologetically?
Sure, people might get upset with you. They might not understand. They might think you’re selfish or foolish. That’s OK. Because you’re designing a life that fulfills you. You’re creating a life that is meaningful for you and your family. Which is what matters most.
If you’re not sure how to value your time exactly, consider asking yourself: What do I want to be doing? What am I doing because I feel obligated, because society dictates that I do it? (In other words, reassess everything. Most things in life are voluntary. We just get too caught up to realize it.) Can I delegate these tasks, or simply stop doing them? If I remove everything in my life—the tasks, habits, responsibilities, even the clothing and stuff in my home—what would I put back in?
Valuing your time isn’t about declining some commitments so you can jam pack your days with others. It’s not about being more “productive” or efficient (unless, of course, that’s your thing). Rather, it’s about focusing on what you love, and clearing the path of any debris that trips you up. Because the tasks or actions you think are non-negotiable might actually be anything but. You get to decide.