Stop Giving Away Your Free Time

Here’s an uncomfortable truth: Too many of us are throwing away our free time on meaningless stuff. We allow our time to be consumed either by other people’s motives or on things that really don’t have much meaning. It’s no wonder why many of us feel overwhelmed on a daily basis.


One simple little tactic can completely change that feeling of being overwhelmed. To take you from a state of anxiety to a state of control. So what is it? To take back your time and start living on your terms you need to become comfortable with saying “no.” It sounds so easy to do, yet when many of us feel pressured or backed in a corner, we almost always revert to giving in.


Begin to say no to things and you’ll start to regain that feeling of liberation. When your supervisor asked if you can work overtime tomorrow (knowing that you already had plans), tell them no. When a co-worker asks to meet up after your shift, tell them no. I promise it is much harder to do in person than when you play it through in your head, but the free time you will gain from doing it is precious. After a while you will begin to become comfortable at the art of saying no.


The funny thing about all of this? People will begin to respect you more. They won’t see you as a pushover that bends and molds to every request. Even more important, you will begin to respect yourself more. You will begin to see the value that your time actually holds and how much of it you have been wasting on things that don’t contribute to your overall life plan.


As a closer to all of this, I’d also recommend not making time commitments too far in advance. If someone asks if you can attend their get-together in 3 months simply tell them that you’re not sure yet. You don’t know how busy you’ll be when that day actually comes, and half the time you’ll dread having made that firm commitment as the day approaches. Remember that your time holds more value than you probably think and that saying no to things isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Jon Griffith specializes in optimizing performance for firefighters, police, EMS, and military personnel. He is a personal trainer, strength & conditioning specialist, full-time firefighter, and former U.S. Army infantryman. Join the movement to ensure all emergency responders are physically and mentally prepared to face the challenges in their day brings by following Max Fortitude Fitness on Facebook.