This is important no matter who you are, as long as you value your time. I first started thinking about this topic in terms of being a business owner, but I think this is a practice that I should really start applying to my everyday life. Actually, I believe that I have started a bit already, but you can be the judge.
As I said, the first time I started considering this as a concept I should start applying to my business. Especially since I’m running something on the side, my time is limited. A while ago I realized that even though I kept saying I want to grow the business, my actions weren’t necessarily reflecting this.
While there is no way I can escape the day-to-day right now, there were definitely some things that I was focusing too much time on that had little to no effect on the business. They were just little tasks or decisions that were an easy distraction to think about, but when they’re dealt with inefficiently it can eat up more time and energy than they’re worth. Realizing that it’s ok to say “no” to non-urgent things that pop up and deal with it when there is time set aside has been an awesome way of keeping my mind clear.
When you choose not to worry about things until you dictate, you are able to keep your thoughts and efforts focused on what is important to you. In my case that is mostly focused on strategy. I truly do want to grow my business, but before when every time I sat down to work on it I was allowing myself to get distracted with what I falsely labelled “urgent” it meant I never had the time or energy to get to thinking strategically. Now I say “no” until the tasks pile up enough that I can do them all at once, or wait until I don’t want to think any more and can do busy work.
The same can be said personally, and luckily I think I have started to learn this lesson. I love getting involved with many different things and that has lead to overcommitting myself, especially in volunteer efforts. About a year ago I started feeling burn-out for this and about six months after that I decided that something needed to change. Reluctantly I have been shedding some of my volunteer responsibilities and am concentrating on being more selective. This has meant being able to contribute a greater amount, without spreading myself too thin.
After stepping away from this for a bit and now reading over it again, I’m fairly certain that I’m just slower than the curve when it comes to this idea. The one thing that I will say, is that sometimes saying “no” seems rude or like we’ve letting someone down. As a person who has been on both sides of the conversation, believe me, it’s a far greater let down than if you commit to something you can’t handle.