Moodscope's blog



Time – It's ALL Yours. Thursday July 23, 2015

"If you don't have time, it's not important enough."

So many people say, when you ask them to do something or go somewhere – "I just don't have time."

I believe this is the modern PC, polite way of saying "No thanks" and does any relationship no favours, whether personal or professional.

It's like people saying 'I'll try' when they know they have no intention of doing whatever it is and we innately know they will not do it.

I'd far rather people said to me – "I'm sorry I can't come that night I have x or y to do". That tells me they take their responsibilities seriously and that they have prior commitments they need to fulfil that are actually more important than what I have asked. I would actually trust them more, for telling me the truth.

The best leader I know, unequivocally will say 'No' straight away and I used to get upset they didn't even consider it. It took me some time to know that when he did commit to do something – he never then, unless in an emergency, failed to deliver. He was teaching me by example, the only credible way to teach, especially our children.

How many of us will be drawn into agreeing to too many things and then not fully fulfilling many or even any of them properly?

How many of us rush from one thing to the next, cursing traffic or our commitments, as our blood pressure and stress builds?

The most important thing in our lives is to decide what is important - and STICK to it.
That way, we can be less stressed, more effective and can actually, through our actions rather than words, become a leader to the next generation, whether family or not!

Then we have time to be mindful - go to the gym, go for a walk – or whatever it is for you to stay healthy. To sharpen the saw as Covey would say.

More importantly we will be trustworthy – worthy of trust – the one thing that changes everything.

Then interpersonal and managerial trust will follow, but it starts with self-trust.

Are you today, going to do what you have decided, is important to you? Can you say 'no' to enable you to be strong enough, to be then be able to truly support and lift others? Can you clearly identify the most important things in your life, from which you will not be blown off course, including your values?

A Moodscope member.

Permalink  |  Blog Home


Anonymous Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 8:25am

Yes, Les, well said. My old boss used to keep on asking me to do more and more and I would try to oblige, until I was at breaking point. My editor said, just trio him you will do the job requested but not until next week or the week after, then he will be more likely to do the task himself and realise he puts too much on you. I did try it, but felt so quilty m'lud, for not being able to cope with even more work. However, I was relieved and some weight taken off when he agreed he outs too much in me!

When put 'on the spot' I mostly say yes, I'll be there, do it or try as I don't want to let peeps down.
Today I am going to stick to my plans, Les! Walking dog then cleaning kitchen!
Thanks, Les, Karen ( x

Anonymous Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 8:30am

You make an excellent point, Les.

As someone with chronic health issues it is even more important to be aware of how you are spending your time.

If I may share the following;

The Spoon Theory summarises this beautifully and is great to send to friends and family to help them understand the issues you are dealing with.

It also means that they are aware how important to you they are when you choose to spend your precious spoons with them.


Hopeful One Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 9:12am

Hi Les- thanks for that insight. My way of doing it to say " The answer is no but do carry on" After they have said their piece I have a choice point. I can say " Yes" or " No". Then I can say" The answer is still no" That way the asker feels they have had a chance to say their bit and hopefully no one was offended by the "NO"

Ali Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 9:38am

Many thanks for sharing this Les. A few weeks ago I stopped my working from home job which I'd been doing for 7 years. This job got busier and busier to the point where it was taking over and I was getting so many emails sending in more jobs that I got to the point where I was almost nervous to check my emails! Before having the children I used to work in an office and I think that I was subconsciously proving to my husband that I was worth something by taking on this extra work.

When I told my husband I was thinking about stopping he was pleased but I know if he'd have asked me to stop I wouldn't have - it was something I had to sort out for myself. He said I've never had to prove anything and that by looking after him and the kids, keeping the house reasonably tidy and making us food etc that was all he's ever wanted me to do.

Now I feel like the pressure has been lifted. I am free to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I've always found mindfulness a great tool for me to fight against my varied mental health issues and love to go to the allotment but whilst working I never had time to do it so then I'd be sat at my computer with a never ending stream of jobs coming in, in a messy, untidy house with a messy, untidy mind and that would often result in me self harming due to feeling so bad about myself. I'm hoping that by having more time for me I can find myself again.

Sorry for ramble!


Anonymous Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 11:00am

Really interesting reading and maybe we should be thinking along these lines in our never ending quest to feel better. Thanks Lou, love ratg x.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 11:50am

Hi Les, this is a really important topic, thanks. So many of us find it hard to say 'no' and have to really come to terms with this at some point. Saying 'yes' when knowing full well that we have no intention of fully committing just adds to depression and robs us of self-confidence. Basically, we are letting ourselves well as creating negative situations. We each have to find our individual right way to do this. It's a toughie though! Thanks again. susan xx

Anonymous Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 11:55am

Hi Lou, thanks for reminding me about the spoons theory; i've used it a few times to explain myself. When i started being given a few more spoons to work with, it was a while before i realized it. So it's good to be aware of how many spoons we've got on any given day. hehehehehe this must sound like such a silly conversation.... susan xx

Mary Blackhurst Hill Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 12:24pm

Great post Les! Yes, nobody likes to hear "no" - but at least you know where you stand.

Les Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 2:48pm

Hi Karen

I wonder what drives that behaviour? possibilities - Who were you needing to please as a child to gain their approval (Mum / Dad....?) - a teacher - siblings....partner....... So what tape are you possibly still running as soon as someone asks you to do something.........? Especially if you then feel guilty.....feels like previous emotional blackmail.........?

Just think of your own commitments for yourself each day and what you want to do (not need to do) to make you happy......?

"When I loved myself enough ---- I learned to meet my own needs and not call it selfish."

Les Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 2:50pm

Hi Lou

Great story.....thanks

Our most important job, is to decide what is important.

Les Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 2:52pm



Every person needs to find their own way / own tool / own process.

I personally would not be comfortable staring with 'no' as the automatic answer.....but that's me.

Les Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 2:56pm

Hi Ali

fab wee ramble at all......

Be good to explore with your husband and dialogue around how to not to trigger your inner voice not to stop in these type of situations.....? Why do you have to do it yourself.........?? What's that about..... :-) ?

Enjoy your freedom...........

Les Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 2:59pm

Hi Susan

Good points.....

One thing that helped a friend of mine - was always to say "I'll think about it." when asked to do anything.

She could then go off and consider it on her own and thus without feeling the pressure of the person standing there - looking and waiting expectantly.

Give yourself some physical and emotional space.....and you are far more likely to come to the right decision for you.

Les Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 3:00pm

Hi Mary

And from where you are clear about 'where you stand'.....the first step off is from firm ground.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 4:12pm

Hi Les
For many years I used to take on more and more tasks so as or to feel inadequate to my colleagues and peers, then one day I read a story of a man who always turned up for work before everyone and left after everyone to get all the tasks done, he never said 'no' and so for years he worked harder and harder. Until one day a cleaner approached him one evening to ask a question, only to find he had passed away at his desk.
What I got from this story is that it's ok to say 'no', we just have to not feel guilty about saying 'no' and realise that we can only do so much and that over working, overloading, over compensating, does not get you any further. If we can say no to the little things then the bigger things won't be as hard as you think, which at times can be as a result of your own doing.
And as your friend says 'i'll think about it' is a good place to start.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 4:37pm

I like 'I'll think about it' a lot! A bit like 'I'll check my calendar/diary and get back to you.'
Thanks Les, for all your great responses to everyone.
Karen ( x

Hopeful One Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 4:55pm

Hi Les- the reason for doing it that way is that a "No" can always be changed to a "yes" as one creates no expectations, A ' yes " can be changed to s " No " but this will dash expectation or cause great upset if the listener goes on to invest time , money and effort based on one's "Yes". Complicated I admit but the best way forward fo me without stressing the psyche.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 7:31am

Glad it was useful.

And what's wrong with a little daft sounding conversation, Susan?! ;)


You must login to leave a comment.

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive


Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

We exist to help people to positively manage their moods. You can contribute by taking the test, sharing your experience on the blog or contributing funds so we can keep it free for all who need it.

Moodscope® is © Moodscope Ltd 2018. Developed from scales which are © 1988 American Psychological Association. Cannot be reproduced without express written permission of APA.