You Don’t Owe Anyone Your Time

If you go against the grain and do something different than what’s considered normal, people are going to have their opinions and perspectives — but that doesn’t mean you have to assign value to those views. I don’t.

Here’s a real life example: Right now, I probably have around 20 or 30 text messages on my phone from people waiting for replies. These people often ask, “Why didn’t you respond to me immediately? Why haven’t you gotten back to me? When can I expect to hear from you?”

The answer is simple: Those people don’t manage my time. Therefore, I don’t owe them any of mine.

When you allow others to control your time and focus, you essentially lose control of your own schedule.

At this point, I don’t consider someone a peer or a friend if they give me a hard time for not responding immediately or meeting them for dinner or lunch every week. The most valuable and important people in my life get it.

As the saying goes, “Busy people understand busy people.” 

The most successful entrepreneurs I know don’t give others a hard time in these situations. They simply remain focused. They know that if we can meet up, that’s great — and if we can’t, no problem. They’re busy, I’m busy, and we both know the other person is working hard to achieve their goals. There are no hard feelings on either side.

The belief that everyone is entitled to an instant response is what distracts you from your daily pursuits. 

I often hear lawyers say that they give their cell phone number to every client and make themselves available at all times. While the intention behind this gesture means well, consider what happens when you’re having dinner with your family and a client reaches out to you directly. Is it truly beneficial to interrupt the moment and say, “Excuse me, everyone, I have to take this call”? Does that really contribute to the fulfilling life you’re trying to build?

Here’s a not-so-secret secret: You can genuinely care about your clients and still establish boundaries. 

You can prioritize the people in your life while maintaining clarity about your priorities. 

You have to be prepared to prioritize your family, your health, and your focus — and respond to others when it aligns with your own schedule.

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