One of the hardest lessons for me to learn was how to gain control over my calendar. There were days when I would pile things into my day, running for one thing to next, until I finally crashed into my bed way later than I wanted to. Then I would get up after too few hours of sleep to do it all again.
My philosophy of what items would make it on my calendar was fundamentally flawed. I felt like if I didn’t have a good reason to say no (like something already happening during that time), I should probably say yes.
But opportunities are not obligations. An invitation to do something on a day when you don’t have anything else going on doesn’t mean you have to do it. You are in charge of your calendar, and having nothing to do in a day is healthy and necessary.
The difficulty comes when we need to say no to an opportunity. For some reason many people feel like they need to justify their no. You don’t have to give a reason why you won’t be at that get-together, party, or volunteer opportunity. The secret to regaining control of your calendar is to remember that your no is enough. Read that again, your no is enough. Next time try saying, “I’m sorry. I won’t be there,” and leave it at that.
The power then comes when you have the ability to say an emphatic YES to something you want to do. The self you will bring to that opportunity probably won’t be exhausted from where you just were, and it will be present there without being distracted by where you need to be next.