Reminder: say NO more often that you’d like.
Saying yes to various projects might feel exciting at first, but you need to keep in mind the time commitment, and the emotional and mental investment it will require.
Time is our most prized resource, no matter who you are, and it’s fleeting and finite. Nobody wants to spend time doing something they’re really not that into. And even if you are genuinely interested in everything you’re taking on, you need to realize that you’re not doing anyone a favor by spreading yourself so thin. Nobody has superpowers to grant them more hours in a day, so be mindful of what your schedule can handle.
Amazing work doesn’t happen in all the 4 or 8 projects you’re taking on, it occurs in the project you dedicate your full mental, emotional and physical focus into, and it brings about exponential results from your consistent persistence and dedication. It’s the same as trying to teach a room of 190 students versus 1 or 2. The outcome is not the same. I’m not saying it’s impossible if that’s what you wish to do; but it simply will be draining and results will come by slower.
If you have multiple passions and want to create and take on a lot, you need to sit down with yourself and figure out which one is your priority.
And here’s the thing about priorities; back in the day the word priority referred to a singular thing that came first before anything else. The priority. The one and only priorityabove all else. Yet today, somehow, the meaning has shifted to include a number of thingsthat come first before anything else, as if that is possible. Now it’s the many things that are number one and come above all else. Which is BS to be honest. Prioritizing should mean figuring out what is your one and only real priority for the day, week or month. Or better yet, the only project you plan to be focused on and “prioritize”. None of this listing of 10 priorities at the same time. Get rid of that mentality.
There can only be one priority.
Narrow down your list, and pick something to dominate within the next few years (or months or weeks or whatever applies to your specific work). Whether it’s building your writing portfolio, or coaching clients, or setting the foundations for your business. You need to own it. Once you master this one thing you take on, the rest comes along much easier and much faster. It’s like when you first start learning how to read, learning how to read in another language becomes much easier once you grasp the initial concept.
With that being said, make “no” a more present part of your vocabulary and let it defend your priority. It’s a simple mental shift, but you’ll be surprised by the results.
Personally, saying no has been a huge struggle for me since I have so much creative energy flowing around, and many projects that I’d like to dedicate more time to. I love collaborating with people and having to say no, to projects that I believe in and working with people that I admire, is honestly very challenging. However, I always try to keep in mind that not being able to give my full attention and my best work to something is much worse than saying a simple no thanks. And thus far, I’ve only slightly spread myself thin, so we’ll see how the rest of the year goes.
But as for you, I hope it’s not too late to stay strong and say no 😉
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*Also, I’m aware of the horrific number of grammatical issues that I commit on a daily basis. It’s a work in progress, don’t @ me!