5 Ways You’re Telling People Your Time Isn’t Valuable

Value Time

Do you value your time?

You may say you do.

Yet, your actions and behavior convey a different message. You let others schedule, interrupt, and otherwise squander it at will.

If your time is such a precious resource, why do you let others take it freely?

Giving Away Time

When you let others take your time, you are in essence saying that your time isn’t valuable.

More so, when people take your time without asking,  aren’t they in essence stealing it?

You value your money and don’t let people take it.

Why don’t you do the same with your time?

Wasting your time… and life… bit-by-bit, minute-by-minute.

Think about the signals you are sending to others about taking your time:

  • Do you say yes to every request and favor?
  • Do you let others schedule meetings on your calendar as they please?
  • Do you let others’ priorities trump your own?

Yet, many people not only give away their time freely… they even tell others that they don’t value it. If you don’t set expectations about your time, then others will continue to believe that they can take it any time they want.

Here are 5 Ways You Are Telling People Your Time Isn’t Valuable:

  1. You say yes to everything – You can’t say yes to every request that comes your way, or you will never get your own priorities done. Saying no is an important skill that successful people realize is necessary to get their goals accomplished.
  2. You drop what you are doing at the first interruption – Is your day one big interruption? Don’t let people, phones, emails, and more keep you from having more than 3 minutes of concentration. Sometimes you need to shut out the interruptions. Close your door. Turn off the phone and email. Maybe just schedule some quiet time with your important work.
  3. You are always reachable – If you always answer your phone or email immediately, people will start to expect it. There is no reason to always be reachable. Rather, you should put your focus and attention on the people and tasks in front of you. Remember, your phone is there for your convenience, not the caller’s.
  4. You don’t abide by time limits – If you let meetings and appointments run over they will expand to fill your day. End meetings and appointments on time so that you can continue on with your day. You will find that when you put hard stops on activities that they will magically adjust to fit the time allotted.
  5. You don’t mind when people or meetings are late – Lateness is another expectation that you are setting with others. If it becomes acceptable to arrive 10 minutes later, then it will become the norm. This is one of the most blatant forms of time theft. Hold yourself and others to being on-time. When others are late, reschedule the appointment at a time that is convenient for you.

Value Your Time

Your time is valuable. Treat it as such.

It is the only currency for which you cannot get more.

Make sure you aren’t telling others that your time isn’t valuable.

Question: How do you value your time? Do you let others steal it freely? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

21 thoughts on “5 Ways You’re Telling People Your Time Isn’t Valuable

  1. I love this, Craig. It reminds me of the principle of “redeeming the time.” We really are stewards of time just as we are of money. Your words remind me of a great book I just finished: Essentialism. Thanks for your blog!

  2. Number 3 is so true. It takes discipline to not treat email like IM. Like balanced meals, 3x per day.

  3. Hi Craig, awesome post!
    We speak more through our actions than through our words!
    Through these five things, we indicate that we are ‘open’ to our time being stolen.

    When I look at these points, I ask myself why – why do we keep saying yes, answer every call and so on?
    Do we have trouble distinguishing between what’s really important? Is it because we don’t understand how interruptions affect our productivity? Or is it because we don’t have dedicated time slots for doing different things (like returning calls)?

    It might be all of the above, or maybe we are just try to keep other people happy! I am not talking about ‘open door policies’ or ‘teamwork’ or similar well-intended practices that have their ugly sides too.
    I mean we don’t want to upset people – a client or a boss.

    I think the solution here is clear communication. How difficult is it really to explain to a boss or a client that we will actually give them better results simply by saying ‘no’ sometimes?
    Well, if we don’t even try to communicate, we will never find out shall we?

  4. So many TV shows picture characters who seem to value their own time at “0.” Cops who work day and night, doctors always on call…it’s ridiculous. Then they show those same characters with marriage and relationship problems and everyone wonders why they can’t make it work–because that’s all they do is work–somewhere else. Lately my husband retired, and I got a rather urgent-sounding e-mail from my sister demanding we drop everything and come and visit (again, after a hundred other agains) — it really needed thought–and rather than knee-jerk reply, I did not reply. Haven’t replied yet. I don’t know if I’ll ever reply unless I can think of a proper answer that allows me to respect my own time as well as hers. And you know what? The minute I didn’t answer and closed my e-mails and went on with what my husband and I were doing, I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’m not anyone’s beck and call girl!

  5. I have been doing better with saying no to people. When you say no to people, you find out who your friends really are, and who aren’t your friends. I think that when I was a teenager, it was a very difficult time for me because of not being able or allowed to say no. I put it this way because when I became friends with someone from school, my mother met my friend’s mother and we started going to their church. I think that is where a lot of the manipulation came in. I was expected to go to everything at (their) church. Anytime I said no, they would go to my mom and she was getting on my back to go anyway, not giving a damn about what I wanted. She was being a people pleaser, which you are not supposed to do. I am not sure if it was because my mom could not say no, or because she was trying to make a good impression (at my expense). I am not trying to place blame, but I was not taught to say no to people. Anytime I did, my family would connive me instead of supporting or defending me. So, I am very discreet about what I share with people because I don’t want to give people the impression that I am going to give in at any time. I feel this way because whenever I responded to something, it would always imply something, even when it shouldn’t. I give on my terms, not anyone else’s.

  6. I just ditched a friend who is chronically late. I liked the guy’s sense of humor but he constantly was late and rescheduling at the last minute. Who has the energy to deal with that?

  7. After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox
    and now whenever a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment.

    Is there a way you can remove me from that service?

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  10. Some of you guys need to TAKE A CHILL PILL and be patient. Thanks for the website. It does work! And so what if you can only download one movie a day IT’S FREE! You get what you pay for. Humble yourselves and be grateful. Quit acting like middle school brats that indeed may need to work on their grammar just a bit.

  11. Focusing on How to Accomplish Something Instead of Why. Try something for me. Get up and go to an empty part of the floor, and position your body so that it’s like you’re riding an invisible motorcycle. Knees bent at about a 90-degree angle, arms out, you can make engine noises with your mouth if you want.

  12. how do you not stop what your doing to help others, I find myself feeling bad if I don’t fulfill a request that is ask of me and it is easier to just do what is being ask of me than to feel bad everytime I don’t do what someone ask of me.. Maybe this is bad, but all in all is it not about making yourself feel better, and living your life to the fullest. Thanks for making me think though, it was a reall good article.

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