The unsolicited sales pitch that you never asked for.
The mansplaining guy who interrupts you and talks over your point.
The long, confusing email that takes twenty minutes to untangle and decipher because… huh?
The acquaintance who emails to ask, “Could I pick your brain for ten minutes?” except ten minutes always turns into thirty or forty or sixty.
All day long, there are so many moments where people attempt to steal little slices of your time. One minute here. Thirty minutes there. One slice. Another. Another. Another. You began your day with a complete pie and now you’ve got zero slices left.
The people around you may not even realize that they’re doing this. They might not mean you any harm. They might have good intentions. Nonetheless, they’re nipping away at your time—and you are letting it happen.
The feminist writer and activist Lindy West says:
“We only get one life. Wasting someone’s time is the subtlest form of murder.”
Holy snap. Think about that.
When you waste someone’s time, you are literally stealing a piece of their life that they will not get back. As Lindy points out, it’s like a very slow, subtle form of murder.
Conversely: when you allow someone else to waste your time, you are consenting to your own murder. You are essentially saying, “My time isn’t valuable. My life isn’t valuable. Here—have as much as you like! Take it all! Go ahead! I wasn’t going to use that hour anyway!”
As women, we are very accustomed to giving away our time. We cringe and say “sorry” for interrupting—yet we allow ourselves to be interrupted almost constantly. When someone needs “just a moment of our time,” we give that moment plus one hundred more. In big ways and small ways, we consent to our own slow, subtle murder.
It needs to stop.
Think about your list of “Everything I hope to do… someday.” Think about your most precious goals. Think about the legacy you want to leave behind for your family and wider community. Then think about how much of yourself you routinely give away to people, projects, and systems that are, quite frankly, a complete waste of your time.
Think about it—and do something about it.
We only get one life and life is not infinite. Each life comes with a limited allotment of time. Don’t allow anybody to waste your time while you passively stand back and watch it happen.
It’s not funny. It’s not a small deal. It’s a big deal.
It’s your life.
PS. Required reading for every woman: SHRILL by Lindy West.
PPS. If you missed it, here’s where you can watch my free webinar on BOUNDARIES. I share my personal tips on how to set boundaries to protect your time and energy… even if you’re a mom, even if you’re super busy, and even if you have a lot of people depending on you. This is such an important topic—especially for women—and we all have room for improvement. Personally, I find that no matter how solid my boundaries get, there’s always room for a little more tightening up!
PPPS. Here are 3 quotes to inspire you to make different choices with your boundaries and your time:
“Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do.” ―Rachel Wolchin
“Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.” ―Anonymous
“’No’ is a complete sentence.” ―Anne Lamott
Yaaaas. Tweet those. Pin them to your bulletin board. Get a t-shirt made. Never forget.