I need to vent a little (I’ll keep from rambling too much). I have trouble saying no. Especially initially. A friend proposes a possible game/idea/project and invariably I jump to ‘that sounds fun/interesting/doable’ and I end up getting sucked into whatever they were proposing. Whether that’s a round of a game I wasn’t intending to play, or a project I don’t have time to help with.
Despite my inability to say no initially however, the bit of my brain tracking everything that I want to do/am doing catches up and points out to me that, no, in actual you don’t have time to play three hours of keeps and kobolds tonight, you have a post to write, an artist to contact, a book to categorise and at least three things you’ve already forgotten about. Which inevitably leads me to the ‘but you said you thought it would be fun’ discussion and I have to explain to them that I have other things I wanted or needed to do.
This is an issue both in my personal life and in my work life, taking on too many things and never really being able to finish anything (I may have pointed out this failure of mine previously), and it really leave a bad taste in my mouth having to let people down when I really need to get something done and have to abandon other people’s well intentioned (but admittedly spontaneous) plans.
Sometimes though, I inform them I can’t do something or that I’m no longer interested in doing the game/whatever (without adversely impacting their plans and/or well before they’ve prepared anything, I should point out) and I seem to get a reaction of “why not”, “what else do you have to do” and “you don’t need to do that”. Which I have trouble understanding, regardless of whether the task I “need” to do is a work task or something on a personal project, I don’t answer to you, and if I’m not negatively affecting your plans don’t get snarky with me. I gave you fair warning or changed my mind before you’d done any prep work and informed you. It’s my time and my life and I’m not going to do something just because it sounded fun at the time and has since lost its lustre.
Moral of the story: everyone has their own stuff they want to do and might need to do to feel accomplished and achieve some level of self-actualisation. If someone doesn’t harp on about you watching television for forty hours a week (or games or reading or being on the phone, whatever floats your boat, television was just an easy target) don’t kick the back of their chair when they’re just trying to do something they want to do or enjoy. We all have to find relaxation and accomplishment our own way.
Also, learn to say no early and firmly, it will only serve to free up more time for things you want to do or enjoy doing. Your time is your time, don’t let all the vampires of the world suck it out of you.