Try this simple word swap to take back your day.
One of the most influential articles on workplace speech I've read in a long time was published way back in 2014. It advocated, for many (I think, good) reasons, to eliminate the word "just" from your repertoire. I still try to adhere to this strategy. I don't always succeed, but when I do, I find that my self-perception and others' perceptions of me are collectively stronger.
I speak, therefore I am.
Eliminating this one key word has worked so well for me, I've started changing up another common phrase:
I haven't had time.
[Requestor]: "Sabra, have you had a chance to do ________?"
[Me]: No, I haven't had time.
Using the word "had" in this context takes the control (and accountability) away from me. It implies that I'm graciously given a finite amount of time rather than having ownership over that same amount of time. It also implies that time can be taken away from me at will (which is only partly true). Finally, it sends the message to others that, because I'm not truly in control of how I use my time, I'm unable to be as effective as might be necessary.
But what about this simple switch:
I haven't made time.
There's something different entirely going on there, huh?
For me, distinguishing between having time and making time puts me in the driver's seat. It gives me more control (albeit linguistically) over how I view my day (and consequently, how I approach it).
I feel so much more powerful and accountable when I can acknowledge to myself and others that I'm responsible for my own time.
Now, don't get me wrong: Things come up, life is busy, and juggling parenthood, work, partnership and surprise setbacks is just part of the deal. I don't mean to imply that any of us are (or should be) masters of our time all the time. Rather, I believe that this simple language switch gives us the perception of more mastery over time and thereby actually affects the level of control we can exercise over daily life. In turn, we're able to instill more confidence in others in our ability to get things done.
Do you use language hacks to change behavior or perception?