My Time Isn’t Just Invaluable, It’s Irreplaceable

The older I’ve gotten, the more I won’t just give my time to anyone who asks or pushes anymore.

I’m very generous with sharing my experiences and expertise.

When asked to speak, or when I write like this, I’ve sought to be more and more vulnerable and transparent in order to help people. Sharing openly what I’ve learned. With the minimal return of knowing I made someone’s life better or easier.

I’m generous with my contacts and relationships. Likely too generous sometimes. If you’re a friend, and I can help you by introducing you to a mutually beneficial relationship, I’m fast to do so. In fact, I love introducing good people to each other just because they are good people who can do good things together, most often without me.

And for so long I was VERY generous with my time. And because of that, I allowed others to dictate the use of my time.

I got run over. I got taken advantage of. I spent time with people or sat through meetings where I literally felt the life draining out of me. And other times I was absolutely horrified and embarrassed to be in the presence of people who didn’t share my values.

Now I’m greedy and stubborn and insanely protective of my time.

Just because I seek to be supremely generous with so much of my life, doesn’t mean I give you free reign to my time and calendar.

So much so that I don’t have voicemail on my phone any longer. I figure if you need to get a hold of me and have my cell phone, you can text or email me, my preferred method of contact.

I usually don’t take blind appointments, without context and expectations, or those that drip of an obnoxious sales call. Just because you call me doesn’t obligate me to answer or return the call.

And I protect our team’s time too. We do that by locking our office up tight, don’t have our business name on the front of the building and have a doorbell that only rings to our executive assistant, who serves as our bouncer (we call her Painkiller).

You get my time generously if … you’re my wife, my children, my team, my partners, my family/friends, and my customers (in that order).

I prioritize those relationships first, so they get dibs on my time. Anything leftover likely goes back to another group in that list.

I’m not a closed door though … you also get some of my time if you’re a good and decent person who wants to learn and grow, and help others.

Here’s what I’ve learned about those who don’t deserve my time …

  • If you’re only seeking your best interest, and not mine or others, I have no time for you.
  • If you want to filibuster and talk the entire time (in particular about yourself), I have no time for you. I reserve those things for videos, talks that I choose to attend.
  • If you only want to use me, exploit me or others, I have no time for you.
  • If you don’t respect my time by actually showing up and being on time, I’m likely to give you one or two strikes, then mark you off.
  • If you treat the others in my life as trash instead of treasure, I’ll discard you too.
  • If you don’t respect healthy boundaries, I have no time for you.
  • If you’re unkind, rude, hateful, belligerently and unrightfully angry to me, I will boot you.
  • If you’re unkind, rude, hateful, belligerently and unrightfully angry to OTHER people, especially the ones I listed above but also to strangers, I won’t spend time with you.
  • If you don’t share the belief that we’re all created equal but different, I’d rather substitute you for one of other 7+ billion people on the planet who does.
  • And finally, if you don’t give me good expectations for what you want to talk about, what your goals and mission are, for you’re seeking to help, how long you want to talk about it, and then without my consent go over time, it’s likely going to be really tough in the future to have a follow-up with me.

Try to get my time like that and I’ll say: Ain’t no one got time for that.

And this isn’t me saying I’m more important than anyone else, or even trying to rant or complain … it’s merely saying, I possess and am the steward of a limited resource that I don’t intend to squander what’s left of on those who aren’t worthy of it.

It’s also sharing what I value most (the opposite of the ‘Ain’t Got Time For That’ list). And who I’m striving to be as a human being, dad, teammate, leader, entrepreneur, and friend.

And, yes, if you get upset about all of this, then you just self-selected yourself out …

So thanks for saving me time.

For those of you who are on the list, or share my values but aren’t currently on the list, I can’t wait to share my time with you.

How about you? How are you managing the scarcest, non-renewable resource you have? And specifically who or what do you have in your life that’s pirating your precious time? And how do you scrub them/it out?

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11 thoughts on “My Time Isn’t Just Invaluable, It’s Irreplaceable”

  1. Oh Cory! Once again, you have touched on something so close to home for me. Thank you!!

    I have been thinking a TON about time lately and how valuable, precious, and LIMITED it is. Some people seem to have so much time on their hands, and when I don’t have as much as they do or choose to spend it other ways, I get reprimanded for it!

    I love how you prioritize your time…and so proudly!

    Thank you again for this. Inspiring as always!

    • WOOT! Thanks for the awesome feedback … I wanted to share it for my own benefit but almost didn’t. So glad I did.

  2. Cory, hi,

    Fantastic – and I’ve had exactly the same experience as you: I was also formerly over generous with my time, as a result of which I was continually stressed. I started to change when I read something a long time ago in which the message was ‘it’s OK to say ‘no”

    Now, although I never formalised my criteria in the way you have, I undoubtedly apply them sub-consciously and I feel FAR less stressed as a result.

    Thanks for a great list of criteria..!

    Cheers,

    Martin.

  3. I listened to Mark Cuban on CreativeLive’s “30 Day of Genius” interviews by Chase Jarvis (it’s free – https://www.creativelive.com/30-days-of-genius/mark-cuban).

    Reading what you wrote reinforced what he said.

    Sometimes in the past I’ve felt like my time is not my own. But then I think I’ve come to the realization … if I don’t own it – who does?

    My life “time” was given to _me_, it’s up to me how I spend it. I can invest it, I can share it, and I can enjoy it – or I can waste it – or let others take it away from me. The choice is mine. And if I don’t make that choice, someone else will make it for me.

    Thanks for spending some of your time sharing with others Cory. It’s a wonderful gift. You always leave me with one thing to ponder on for the week.

  4. Awesome article. Once again, hitting the nail on the head. Since subscribing to wprosper I’ve made so many changes to the way I work, it’s crazy how many things needed to change. Love the advice!

    I’ve just started to use Toggl to track my time working on projects and it’s crazy how many hours of meetings were not being accounted for.

    Keep up the good work.

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