It's easy to over fill your schedule if you're not careful. Committing to something you're not enthusiastic about is a quick way to get overwhelmed. The next time you're considering whether to add something to your schedule, if your answer isn't along the lines of "Hell yeah!" then say "No".
Photo by Jon Candy.
As writer Derek Sivers suggests, this filter can keep you from stacking up your time with events you don't really care about. Not only does this keep you from wasting time on things you don't want, it keeps your schedule open for things you do like. Your time is limited. It makes sense to save it for the things that are important to you:
When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say "HELL YEAH!"
We're all busy. We've all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.
Of course, as with anything, there's a counter perspective. Sivers himself shares a post from writer Sid Savara who suggests there's a third option: "Hell, why not?" Saying no to all but your favourite commitments is only really helpful if you're going to replace it with something productive or fulfilling with your time. If saying no means that you'll sit at home watching Netflix for the fourth night in a row, "Why not?" may be a better option:
On the other hand, if your time is not being utilised at a high rate, before using HELL YEAH (or a lack thereof) as a determining factor, ask yourself — am I going to do something productive with the time I save by not taking on this project, or is this just a cop out?
You don't have to say yes to everything that comes your way — but I would at least consider dipping your toes in if you don't have a better option.
No matter which approach you prefer, the goal is still the same: to prevent you from throwing away your time on things you hate because you feel like you have to. Most of the time, we have more choices than we think we do. Sure, you can't blow off work, and you may have a family or loved ones to take care of. However, your spare time is yours to do with as you choose. If you don't prioritise it, someone else will.