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4 Words You Should Never Say

A friend asks you to volunteer. Your spouse asks you to glance over a memo he's writing his boss. You say you'd love to. Really! But...
"I don't have time.”

It seems plausible. We're all busy these days, right? But there are solid reasons not to use these four words, at least with yourself.

Here's the big one: it's not true. You tell yourself "I don't have time” to exercise, but we all have 168 hours a week. If someone offered to pay you $100,000 a month to hit the gym for 5 of those 168 hours, you would probably find the space in your schedule. Since that isn't going to happen, this is a more accurate statement:

"It's not a priority.”

There are a million things we could be doing with our time; some are priorities and some are not, even if that's not politically correct to say. Try it. "I'm not going to read to you tonight sweetie, because it's not a priority. Daddy's priority is to check his Blackberry.”

Using the words "I don't have time” keeps us from owning up to the fact that how we spend our time is a choice. It puts the responsibility for our lives on someone else: a boss, a client, a family member. Or else it puts the responsibility on some nebulous force: capitalism, society, the monster under the bed. Regardless, the power slips out of our hands.

Better to be truthful: "I have another volunteer commitment on which I'm focusing my energy right now. It's the cause that's most important to me.” That's fair enough. Or, to your spouse "I wish you'd mentioned this earlier. Right now my priority is to get our children dressed and out the door for school. I'll be available around lunch time if you'd like to talk.”

See? That wasn't so hard.

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Photo courtesy flickr user, Katie Tegtmeyer
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