Managing your commitments, and a note on managing mine

On the one side, I encouraged all of you to say yes.  And yet there will come a time where you need to say no for your own sanity.  But how do you determine when to say no?

Here are some reasons that you should consider saying no:

  • If you’re only saying “yes” because you feel you should. “Should” is the stuff of other people’s expectations, or sometimes our own unrealistic and unnecessary ones.  If you feel the should monster kicking in, ask yourself: What would the consequences really be if I didn’t?
  • If the payoff for saying “yes” is minimal. What are the upsides of saying yes?  A warm fuzzy feeling?  Professional advancement?  A great new networking connection?  Weigh what you’ll get against what you need to give.
  • If you’re not sure you can deliver. If you’re overwhelmed, busy, or distracted, you may not be able to produce quality results.  And if your results are sub-par, the upside of committing is significantly less attractive.  Who needs the guilt?
  • If it’s out of line with your priorities. If you have to trade time with your family, or things that are critical to your success, to keep a commitment, there’s a fairly high price for taking on that “one more thing.”

So, for every time that you’re asked to do something, consider these, not to mention your gut feeling, before making a decision.  It’s not smart to say no just because somethings out of your comfort zone, but it’s not smart to say yes just because it isn’t.

With this in mind, I’m working on managing my own commitments.  I’ve been having a blast with new projects and new opportunities, but I’m also watching my schedule build to an unsustainable level.  And so it’s time to take action, and evaluate where I’m creating the most value.

Below is a poll, and I hope you’ll do me the huge favor of taking a minute to fill it out.  One of the ways I’m considering bringing my commitments back into balance is somehow altering how/when I post on this blog.  You’re the only one who can tell me what’s valuable to you, so please take a moment to share your thoughts.  If you’re a person who checks the blog daily, or waits for your email subscription to come through every morning, and you want to keep getting an article every weekday, let me know.  On the other hand, if you don’t have time to keep up with daily posts and would rather see a slower schedule, let me know that too.  You guys decide.  (Oooh, the power!)

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Any change is temporary.  We’ll see what works out.  And if you have any other thoughts on what you’d like to see here, share in the comments below!

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