the benefits of no meeting day

so here’s the thing: there will always always be more to do than i can do. (note: i’m going to use “i-statements” for this, but it also applies to you and all of us). no matter how much i limit my contact with new people and new ideas, there will always be more to do than i have time for. i could sit alone for years and think up enough to do to keep me occupied for a lifetime (is everyone like this? maybe not…).

and given that i do not (yet) live a hermetic lifestyle, i’m always being invited to more than i have time for. this dinner, that movie, this talk, that class, this rally, that _-a-thon, this hangout session with one friend, that hangout session with a group of friends. there will always be things that are hard to say no to.

but the thing is, saying no isn’t an option: it’s a necessity. and so the no muscle is a really important one to me. there are many things that help me determine whether or not the answer to something is no including my two annual review processes (1 & 2), my vision statement, my personal values, my shadow calendar, etc.

more on the shadow calendar end of the spectrum than the annual review end is my no meeting day policy (borrowed from highfive). having a day of the week to which i do not agree to meetings is, like most things, somewhat arbitrary. and yet, it helps me deal (and learn to deal even better over time) with the fact that there will always be things that are hard to say no to in two ways.

first, it gives me a flat, blanket excuse to just outright say no without much thought. practicing this is huge. it’s really difficult and i watch so so so many people struggle with balance without this ability. practicing makes it easier. whether it’s a really important meeting or a recurring event that i just want to go to, having the structure of no meeting day maeks it easier to just say no. having a day on which i just have to say no .

the other reason is more philosophical. as i mark off an entire day for myself, i have to learn to deal with fomo. as i say no to awesome things, i am reminded of what it feels like to not be involved in everything. and being familiar with this feeling makes it easier to stomach over time. comfort with this feeling allows me to say no even more easily in other contexts (not just no meeting day). and in the end, this protects my own focus and attention from being spread too thin. in my mind (and the minds of many other folks who have come before me) attention and time are my most valuable resources. what i do with them literally determines the structure of my life (even within oppressive systems)

words / writing / post-processing
503w / 15min / 4min