The average human being is exhausted from an abundance of commitments and obligations; for many of which, there is very little passion. We have slim-time related margins and demands on our time are high. We are challenged by the need to balance the many competing priorities in our lives such as faith, family, career, health, education, finances, community and time for leisure activities. It can be difficult to refuse requests for fear of not wanting to disappoint others. Most of us have a very difficult time saying “no.” However, focusing on improving in this area and becoming more comfortable can be liberating.

Determine what your true priorities are and ensure that they align with your purpose. Prioritize your priorities and ensure that they are entered into your calendar. Follow this by evaluating each request that you receive against these priorities. God has given each of us 24 hours in a day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average lifespan for women is 81.2 years and 76.4 years for men. It is critical that we not waste precious time attempting to please others while sacrificing our personal priorities.

Think of time as an investment rather than something you spend. A time commitment is an extremely important and finite portion of our lives. Do you easily say yes to an investment opportunity without sufficient research or study? I hope not, because it could result in serious financial loss. It is the same with our time; we should value it and help others understand the importance of doing the same.

“Time is the coin of life. You spend it. Do not allow others to spend it for you.”  – Carl Sanburg

Becoming comfortable saying the word “no” in the right circumstances, can free us to live a more focused and meaningful life. It may also be the impetus for saying “yes” to the things that matter the most.