Something I pondered recently was when I am doing something:
- Did I say “yes” to doing what I am currently doing because I actually wanted to do it?OR
- Did I say “no” to everything else that came up and that forced me to do what I’m currently doing?
At first glance, the end result might appear to be the same here: you are doing the same thing
But the process is different and saying no ensures you are doing what you actually want to be doing.
I’ve realized that it is much easier to say yes to many things vs being extremely intentional about what I spend my time doing, which involves saying no to everything but the single (or few things) I have prioritized.
The problem with saying yes to many things is although it feels like I am getting things done throughout the course of the day, it might not be most prioritized or most impactful next action. This makes the days feel long, but creates that feeling at the end of the day where one asks themselves, “wait what did I actually do today?”
The days are long but the decades are short.
It is hard to say no because I think we are wired to want to help. To want to say yes. To not want to let someone down.
But what I’ve found is in the morning, if I pick three things max I want to accomplish that day and say no to anything else that comes across my plate, when the end of the day comes around, I feel extremely content.
Maybe its because what I completed was what I intended to. Maybe its because I felt like I was proactive in my day vs reactive to what naturally arises. Or maybe it actually feels good to say no because it better channels my focus and attention on the tasks that matter the most to me.
So give this a try:
- when you wake up, write down on an index card or post it note the three things you will accomplish that day; three things which can concretely be completed (ie instead of writing “mom’s bday” you’d write “order all the food and decorations for mom’s bday.”
- throughout the rest of your day, until you finish those three things, say no to everything else (doesn’t mean you’ll never do it, but today? sorry not happening)
- at the end of the day see how you feel