Not Enough Time: Learning When To Say ‘NO’

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

There are many causes out there I want to be involved in. But when things start falling behind at home I have to learn to prioritize my time. As difficult as it is, I must learn to say ‘NO‘!

There are many causes out there I want to be involved in. But when things start falling behind at home I have to learn to say 'NO'! #TexasHomesteader

Flexible Days With Self Employment

When RancherMan & I left the corporate workplace years ago to live & work here on the Homestead we were thrilled that we were no longer bound to the traditional 9-5 work schedule.

Of course as anyone who has gone into business for themselves knows, many MANY more hours than the standard 40 goes into our workweek now that we are our own boss. But at least it’s our own schedule.

We’ve joked for years about how at our young age we were able to ‘retire’ from corporate America. But we’re not retired at all, we’re now self-employed.

To the outside world that flexibility is often viewed as wide-open availability since others know we don’t have to report to an office by 8 am each morning.

One by one other obligations slowly crept into our lives. And suddenly there just weren’t enough hours in the day…

Worthwhile Community Obligations

RancherMan & I are both active in our church and serve or even chair several committees as well. We also attend a couple of study groups and we’re both very involved in volunteering and serving on the board of our local Food Pantry. 

But more & more requests for volunteer help were coming in.

I’m aware that there’s a tremendous need for volunteers – especially in a small town. And they are all such worthy causes – causes that are near & dear to my heart.

But how do you know when it’s time to just start saying NO?

Causes I volunteer for. There are many causes out there I want to be involved in. But when things start falling behind at home I have to learn to say 'NO'! #TexasHomesteader

Not Enough Time: Falling Behind In My Work

I’d been noticing lately that Homestead tasks not deemed hot-item chores were slipping. Then a few more, then even more!

I’m one of those people that likes to kick things quickly from my to-do list. But instead I was now struggling just to keep up.

Although I had deemed it a very important task I found myself behind in redesigning my veggie garden. And now planting season is coming up!

Oh well I reasoned, I guess I can squeak by with the old raised beds even though they’re crumbling. Maybe I’ll just endure the inefficient design this year. Perhaps I can tackle a new design next year.

But I also need to be starting my seedlings using my Indoor Greenhouse procedure. When will I be able to do that?

And the cistern enclosure is starting to weather and needs to be repaired. When will we have time to get to that?

Oh, and our remote pasture needs to be disked before the spring grasses emerge. Mercy me, when will we have enough time to get to that?

There are calves to register, records to update and much financial information to gather for our CPA.

We’ve needed to contact a bulldozer operator for months to correct one of our ponds here at home & also dig new ponds in our remote pasture. All of this is falling further & further behind.

Not Enough Time

Then recently a friend approached me and said she had volunteered for a very important community cause. But she was overwhelmed & just couldn’t do it alone, she needed additional volunteers to step up and help. 

Knowing how I valued that organization she asked if I could help her.

Concerned that this friend was shouldering so much of the burden herself (and also caring so much for the cause for which she was volunteering) I desperately wanted to say yes. But my current obligations have me tied down.

Although it’s true the actual hours in my days are somewhat flexible, RancherMan & I have other community obligations and a homestead to look after as well.

There were just not enough hours in our days anymore.

Prioritizing My Time

But I was spending too much time with community commitments to squeeze much of everything else in. Yes I want to volunteer to make this community great. But I can’t do it all. I just can’t.

Family matters need my attention too. When my grandmother was on her deathbed I needed to push everything else aside to be with her. Not only for my grandmother but also to comfort my mother who was racked with worry and sorrow.

When dad had his knee surgery I needed to be available to help when needed. To bring them food or have them join us for supper so he didn’t have to cook or clean.

And I need to make sure to put time into my relationship with RancherMan. Even during busy days, it’s important to make sure we make Time For Each Other.

RancherMan & I enjoy a close loving relationship. #TexasHomesteader

And I need time to just have fun gatherings with my family as well. It’s a bonding experience and an important one to me. So I need time for those fun cookouts and weekend sibling trips. 

Learning To Say “No”

Although I believe strongly in the positions for which I currently volunteer, I’m thinking it’s time for me to learn to say no to any additional obligations.

I think there’s a fine balance between providing for your family and also giving of yourself for the good of your community.

I’m still working to hit that balance and I think I’m dealing with a tremendous amount of guilt for saying no.

How do you balance home & volunteerism?


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10 thoughts on “Not Enough Time: Learning When To Say ‘NO’

  1. Sandra @ Scrumptilicious 4 You!

    Good advice. Balance is hard to come by. I have felt much the same because there are so many good things to get involved in. This helps me begin the process of sorting through which are most important. Thanks for posting on the Four Seasons Blog Hop! Sandra from Scrumptilicious 4 You!

  2. Cathy

    Lisa Lynn, this is the great question of life, and one I certainly struggle with as well. After I came down with some severe health issues a few years ago, I had to learn to say no with meaning, and put myself and my family first. It’s been a hard lesson.

  3. Katie

    It’s amazing how all of those little commitments can add up and become totally overwhelming. Saying no is such a challenge – thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I KNOW, RIGHT??? It sneaks in with “it’s only one meeting per month” and then another, then another, then another as you add to your obligations. One meeting a month sounds like a doable thing and it is. But if you’re not careful you end up with many one-meeting-a-month obligations before you know it and they’re all stacked on top of each other. LOL ~TxH~

  4. lisa lynn

    I understand completely how you are feeling! Over the years I, too, have volunteered to take on many responsibilities to the point of exhaustion. When we moved to our current homestead in 2010, I realized that I had to make some pretty big changes. We are 20 minutes further from all of those important obligations and I have so much more to take care of here at home. I basically went through my list and chose only the obligations that I knew I could handle and let everyone else know that I wouldn’t be able to continue. Everyone was very understanding, but I did feel guilty.

    I think that taking care of our family and homestead is part of our responsibility to God. If we don’t take care of these things, then we are failing in that responsibility. That was a huge revelation to me and I try to remind myself of this often.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Oh Lisa Lynn – how beautifully stated, thank you. I guess the feelings of guilt are a little surprising to me. It would be different if I refused to pitch in at all but since I’m already active in other areas I’d think that just saying no would come more easily. I’m still refusing additional volunteer opportunities and hanging on to those that I’m currently involved in but wow… ~TxH~

  5. Texas Homesteader Post author

    Thanks for sharing your experience PK. Like you I had my realization moment about not being able to do any of the causes I cared about justice if I couldn’t focus on any of them. Then of course there’s the fact that although you can run tight for a short amount of time, after awhile things not being taken care of at home start creating problems of their own. I know all of this intellectually, just dealing with the guilt of that realization. It helps to know there are others out there struggling with the same thing. ~TxH~

  6. PK Kirkpatrick

    I have battled the same situation. I also live in a small town and found myself involved in so much volunteer work that I finally had to sit down, decide the importance of each obligation and back out of some of the responsibilities. When you give up home and family time for other causes you really believe in, you eventually realize that you have to prioritize. The way I’m getting past the guilty feeling of saying “no” is by remembering the “Ah ha” moment when I realized that if you’re involved in too many causes, you can’t do any of them justice. I’m really enjoying time with my family and having some days that have no meetings scheduled. By the way, that last photo is just a bundle of cuteness.

  7. Lauren Ann

    Great post! I think sometimes that we do need to remember that our family needs to be first and while it may be hard to say no, sometimes we just need to.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks Lauren. I guess the part I’m struggling with the most is the guilt of saying no. I realize it’s God, then family, then community so I’ve got the priority straight in my mind but I’m struggling mightily with the guilt thing…


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