Last week I discussed some thoughts on being busy. Near the start of the post, I made an off-hand comment about why I’m typically busy:
It’s often less of an issue of seeking achievement, and more the result of me absent-mindedly saying “yes” to obligations without regard to the impact it has on my time and calendar.
This is the perfect example of an answer to those interview questions of “what is a weakness of yours?” It took a lot of self-reflection to realize that a lot of stuff I do is less because it fits within a plan, and more because it sounded like a cool thing at the time. It was a habit I formed when I was single and life was simple. However, as things started piling up, it made it really difficult to prioritize. The most important things in my life (love, sleep, exercise, etc.) end up taking a back seat to those things that seemed cool when I said “yes” to an ask.
I was watching a video from Jon Call, aka Jujimufu on YouTube, and he was discussing email tips that he uses to stay organized. However, around the 3:30 mark of the video, he drops a fascinating insight:
“If I said yes…, I’m basically saying ‘no’ to (my wife) Sam, I’m saying ‘no’ to (my friend) Tom, (and) I’m saying no to you guys…”
Whether you are talking about your email inbox, your work, or the important people in your life, it’s important to reflect on what you are saying “no” to when you decide to say “yes.” It’s a hard lesson that I am still struggling with, and I’m thankful with how patient my loved ones have been.
I invite you to reflect on your own life: what are you saying “no” to?