I had to run into the grocery store to pick up an ingredient for a meal I was preparing. I was in a hurry. On my way out, an employee from a local bank asked me if I wanted to “take a spin” on a wheel set up next to her table as part of some promotion.
“No thanks,” I said, as politely as I could.
“But it’s free!” came the reply, as if she had just given me an answer that had no credible rebuttal.
Although I didn’t say it out loud, in my head, I responded, “No it’s not…”
Just because something is free, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a cost.
I regularly say yes to very good offers that I shouldn’t be saying yes to. Invitations for coffee, opportunities to make some side cash, or requests to donate time for a good cause. These by themselves are worthwhile things, but they cost me time that I could be spending on better things.
An afternoon having coffee with a new friend is an afternoon I can’t spend at the zoo sketching animals with my daughter.
Time spent on a side project for a few extra bucks is time I’m not spending making art that I was born to make.
Saying yes to help a good cause might prevent me from investing myself into a cause I’m infinitely more passionate about.
A promotion at work might come with more status and a bigger paycheck. But it also might cost you more stress, headaches, and time away from your family.
We have more options and choices at our fingertips than ever before in history. It’s too easy for us to fritter our time away on things that keep us busy and make us feel like productive, nice, people.
This is a slippery slope, friend.
We are on this Earth for a reason. And we don’t have the bandwidth to do everything we’d like. So we have to choose.
Time has a value. And we all have much less of it that we think.