A few months ago, I received an email asking if I had any capacity to work on a set of blog posts for an IT company based out of Chicago. “Thank you for reaching out!” I replied, “Unfortunately, I’m afraid I won’t have any time to dedicate to your project. However, I’d be more than happy to recommend another copywriter, if you’re interested.”
I paused, looked up from my computer, then bit my bottom lip.
Technically speaking, I did have the time to work on their project. Just for good measure, I quickly opened my calendar and—yep, sure enough—I did have an hour or two to spare on one blog post per week. Was I actually about to send an email lying to this person about my schedule?
I hit send. Well, actually, I saved my email as a draft, contemplated hitting send for about an hour, and then I hit send.
To clarify: the reason I hit send wasn’t because I’m a dirty liar. No, the reason I hit send is because their company didn’t make sense for the type of work I do. During that highly anticlimactic hour before finally replying to their email, I reviewed the list of clients I work with on a daily basis: a relationship coach, a skincare product line, a mental health forum for women, a hair salon, a nail salon. “Nope,” I said to myself matter-of-factly, “no IT experience.” Not even close.
Not only would I be wasting my time writing for this IT company—a business in which I have zero experience—I’d be wasting the company’s precious time and money busting my a** trying to a) understand what the heck people in the IT industry want to read, then b) learning the terminology to properly put it into words (fun fact: the acronym API stands for Application Programming Interface and I couldn’t give a sh*t).
The truth was, I didn’t have time for them. Not because they’re unworthy. Not because they suck. Not because I’m better than them.
I didn’t have time for them because I wanted to make time for something else. Maybe that something else was my dream client. Maybe that something else was devouring a book I’ve been wanting to read. Maybe that something else was spending those two precious hours with my fiancé. My friends. My family.
The minute you learn that everything on your calendar exists because you put it there is the minute your life changes forever. In other words, you are the only one responsible for your schedule and how you manage your time.
I’ll hit you with another story—coincidentally, the same story that made me dash to my laptop to start writing this damn thing.
Tonight, I’m grabbing dinner and drinks with another copywriter in town. As a self-proclaimed introvert, every fiber in my being is telling me to cancel. Every symptom of anxiety I could ever imagine—shaking, nausea, exhaustion, fatigue—is screaming at me to make up any excuse to stay home in my sweet, delicious bed.
For all of my introverts out there, please feel free to use these memes accordingly. I made them just for you:
But the biggest culprit in my pursuit to cancel? “Sorry, I’m swamped.”
Ha! No, I’m not.
Let me tell you how I came to this conclusion of how “swamped” I am: as I was looking through my tasks for the day, I realized I might not have enough time to do my makeup and hair before dinner.
Apparently, makeup and hair are the reasons why I can’t hang with someone these days—someone I actually want to meet in person. Reality check: what would it look like if I didn’t spend my time on hair and makeup tonight? Do I think this copywriter would take one look at me, throw her napkin on the table, then waltz out of the restaurant? Heck no! And if she did, I like to believe this person isn’t worth my time. So, why am I spending time glamming myself up for someone who doesn’t care?
Whether you spend eight hours a day in a job you hate, scroll through Instagram for an average of three hours a day (if you have an iPhone, I dare you to check your screen time data), or choose to do your makeup and hair when you really don’t feel like it—you are the only one responsible for your schedule and how you manage your time.
True, some tasks are worth the discomfort. And sometimes, we do have to put in the time doing something uncomfortable in order to grow—or even survive. But the key to living your life on your terms is redesigning the time you do have.
This week, take notice of your time. What are you choosing to spend it on? Do you find yourself working on unnecessary tasks? Going through the motions because someone is constantly telling you what to do? Watching a football game with your S.O. when you’re just dying to read that book you just picked up? Let me know how it goes ⤵
P.S. I just got back from dinner. Naturally, we had an amazing time (and in case you were wondering, no napkins were thrown after walking in sans hair and makeup).
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