Many people complain about a lack of time. After all, time is finite rather than infinite.
But obviously the clock ticks at the same speed for all of us. Yet, some people seem to get so much done while others struggle.
Therefore, the problem isn’t necessarily that we don’t have enough time. The problem is that some of us don’t manage it the way we should.
One of the things we do that is a misuse of time is to let others steal our time. Although we shouldn’t, there are reasons we let other people disrespect our time.
1. Spending Time with the Wrong People
One of the reasons we let other people disrespect our time is because we’re hanging out with the wrong people. There are a couple of different ways this can happen.
When we find ourselves being blown off by someone more than once it’s time to move on. Whether in our personal lives or professional, this tells us they do not value us or our time.
Another scenario is when we spend time with someone who wants to control every minute of the time we’re together. Then again, some people want to control the time when we’re apart also.
Neither one of these situations is respectful of our time. In the first it is clear that the other person is all about themselves. But in the second, the other person is too controlling which can suffocate us.
What to Do About It: Make Different Choices
When considering what to do about it, the answer actually seams rather simple. We should just make different choices about who we want to spend our time with.
Of course, that is easier said than done sometimes. If the other person is a family member we may be forced to spend time with them occasionally.
But that doesn’t mean we have to seek them out on our own. Instead, we should move on with our own lives and spend our time with others who clearly want to be with us.
2. Wanting to Be Team Players
There are additional ways we let other people disrespect our time. For instance, we want to be seen as team players in our work and otherwise.
Because of this trait, others may disrespect our time by asking even more of us. They recognize that we want to be a part of the team and they take advantage of it.
But the end problem with this is that we have more to do than we can handle. This leads us to being stressed out and unable to accomplish everything we are tasked with.
Others then view us as not being productive. We may even get passed over for raises and promotions all because we want to do our best.
It’s much the same in our personal lives. When we take on too much because we want to gain the approval of others, we may end up disappointing them instead.
What to Do About It: Recognize Limitations
Wanting to be a team player in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, it is a bad thing when it holds us back or has negative consequences.
Instead of trying to do more than we can just to fit in and be a team player, we should recognize our limitations. We must respect our own time and know when to ask for help.
How do we do that? By keeping an organized schedule of what we must accomplish each day. This way we know how much time we have available for added projects.
Additionally, it’s perfectly alright to let others know when we have too much on our plates already. Yes, that means risking letting them down. But that is far better than complete failure by being unable to finish projects we take on.
3. Genuinely Trying to Help Others
Some of us truly love to help other people. This is actually a great problem to have in today’s world. There are too many people who prefer not to get involved and help others who need it.
Unfortunately, at times it causes other people to take advantage of our giving natures and disrespect our time. When they recognize that we enjoy working hard they oblige by piling on more work than we can possibly do.
What to Do About It: Offer Alternatives
To combat this problem we must take our time back. Wanting to help others is great, but not at the expense of ourselves. So, rather than taking on the priorities of other people, we must put our own first at times.
If we must tell someone we are unable to help them out with a request, we should offer alternatives. This softens the blow while respecting our own time limitations.
Still, there will be instances when no alternative exists. We must remember that to help others some of the time we must help ourselves first.
4. Not Wanting to Say “No”
Not wanting to say “no” is a big way we let other people disrespect our time. As soon as some people recognize this characteristic in us, they use it to their advantage.
Without remorse of any kind they take our time from us and use it for themselves. Of course, we help them do this by not wanting to say “no” even when we should.
What to Do About It: Stick to a Calendar
There is a way to absolve ourselves of guilt when we must deny other people. Rather than feeling guilty about saying “no”, simply tell them when our calendars are too full.
But the only way to know when it actually is full is to use our calendars to their full potential. That means understand what it can and can’t do. It also means putting all entries in our calendars that should be there.
5. Trying to Be Available at All Times
A huge reason we let other people disrespect our time is through trying to be available at all times. Upon examining this reason we would see that this has at least two issues.
One is that there is just no physical way to be available at all times. The human body needs a break in the form of food, sleep, and other activities to function optimally.
Another problem is that being available at all times leads to work burnout. We begin to put off chores, neglect ourselves, or lose interest in social activities. On top of that we are constantly exhausted.
What to Do About It: Make Clear Boundaries
The good news is that there are ways to put a stop to constant availability. The first thing we can do is to make clear boundaries and enforce them.
Other people will disrespect our time if we don’t put a stop to it. We must not allow work to overtake our personal lives. Otherwise, what are we working for? Are we working just to live and living to work?
There must be some personal enjoyment in life. This is why boundaries need to be set and, at least most of the time, followed.
We all have the same amount of time in a day. But if we let other people disrespect our time then we are partially to blame. We must value ourselves enough to do something about it.