on saying no and learning how to have alone time

during a productivity boost session with my friend miriam, one of the topics we touched on was the power of saying no. i wrote about this a lot when starting my coaching practice, but my thinking on this has expanded (much in part because of my conversations with miriam). here are some ways that saying no has shown up in my life:

saying no has helped me not commit to seeing a ton of people all the time

i used to fill every night (and many afternoons) with catch up meetings. i’d run into someone in the street or the library or at an event or coffeeshop. then the inevitable “we should catch up!” would follow and we’d schedule something. i’ve been in boston so i know a lot of people. every week i was probably meeting up with 4-6 people. it was exhausting. i would feel myself get tired of telling people what was going on in my life. not a good sign.

now, because i have specific slots on my calendar, i have more confidence in saying no (or just scheduling way in advance). this, in turn, leaves me time to actually just be alone. at first, i thought it would be lonely. turns out, it’s not. it’s actually glorious.

saying no has helped me not fill unscheduled time with seeing people nearby

when i first wrote that, i actually cringed a bit. am i a person who doesn’t want to make time for people when i’m near them? but then, i remembered, i love making time for people; i just want to do it in a way that makes sure i get what i need to be healthy, happy, and sane. like i mentioned above, having specific slots on my calendar for when i see random people outside of my inner circle of friends helps me decide whether i have time to drum up a random social meeting or not.

i used to feel bad about not trying to see everyone all the time. now, because i have a fairly robust personal system, i know that the time i’m not spending having random catchup meetings is helping me move towards the goals i established at the beginning of the year.

out of time for today. tomorrow’s post will cover the last two points:

ps - i just saw the book below in a space my friend, sidney, manages. maybe it’s relevant?