I’ve been busy. I’ve been networking. That is what one does who is looking to venture out on their own. I am very fortunate to know so many brilliant people and connecting with others has been relatively easy. It’s what I love! I love hearing what people are up to, what they are working on, how they are feeling. I too love sharing myself. (I know you are shocked. Wink)
Almost everyone I speak with has something for me to check out. A book to read, a podcast to listen to, a course to take, a YouTube, a concept to investigate, and the list goes on and on. At first, I was like a sponge… yes to that, yes, yes, tell me more, I love it. I was buying books based on recommendation from people I barely knew, because it sounded like something I needed. All the stuff being recommended felt totally relevant. I do need to know about it! I want to know about it! But now I have a list of 150 things to check out and I am completely overwhelmed. Plus, I have my list of “stuff” to do. Like set up my FB business page (check it out if you haven’t, shameless plug). And at the top of the list is my first grader, making sure she is fed, watered, and not flunking.
So how do I parse all this information and stuff? “Make a list Rachael, time management isn’t that hard.” Duh…. Give everything a numerical priority value and start working through it, add when new comes up, because new always comes up. But what if I thought about this differently and didn’t take everything that came my way. Kept a separate list for those things (or dare I say no other list at all). Instead of feeling bad that I didn’t get to it, accept that it didn’t fit into my goals (this week, this month, or this year) and be okay that I didn’t do everything recommended. I am fairly sure my support network giving me these tips would be ok with it…
This isn’t just about the time. You may be thinking, “well can’t she just google the book or whatever and get the headline and be done, it could take all of two minutes”. Well yes, that could be an approach, which is where I started, but then information overload happened. I wasn’t focusing, remembering, really incorporating the learning. I was just flying over at a superficial level. Which may be fine for some, jack of all trades, know a little about a lot (that is me). But I want to use my energy and fully absorb the topic and incorporate “the why” people are recommending it in the first place. This is a completely different approach for me. I want to be more of a specialist, who dives deeper, and then wider as my experiences grow. If that is my goal, I cannot bring everything that comes my way into my brain.
I have been trying to focus on my three professional goals for the week, some bigger than others. If something comes up that doesn’t fit into that, I put it on another list to be reviewed at a later time (I don’t want to lose it and I know I won’t remember). My three goals for the week must align to my larger three goals for the year. I am working on giving myself permission to let things pass. No one needs to know I didn’t read that book. I can graciously take the information, add it to my future list (or not). It is such a hard thing, maybe even more so for women, to say “no thanks”. In my 20s (and advice I still give) was to say yes to every project, every opportunity, every request that came my way. I wanted to be viewed as an eager team player, willing to do whatever it takes for the success of the team. That approach served me well. It now makes it harder for me to shift my mindset and decide what I want to take on and what I say yes to. If I am not saying yes to everything that comes my way, how is that changing my brand, my reputation, and what I value as a strength I brought to work? I don’t have an answer to that. It is my growth edge of accepting that things are changing and so am I. I read Greg McKeowns’ Essentialism a few years ago. Fantastic book on doing what is only the most essential to you. Being purposeful about what you do with your time and energy. Working the muscle to say no for things that don’t fit into your immediate goals. A lightbulb moment for me; one cannot have Top 10 Priorities. It is like going through a strategic exercise. What is your mission? What is your vision? What are the top 3-5 goals to help you get there? If things come up that you cannot tie into your vision, if you aren’t quickly saying “YES!”, “HELL YES”, then it doesn’t need to be looked at now. I hope during this time when we are all experiencing burn out at some level, you give yourself permission to say “no thanks”. To really figure what are those things that fill you up and give you meaning, not just the things you “should” do.
“If It’s Not A Hell Yes, It’s A No! “– Monty Hooke