Pause and Assess Before You Say Yes (Productive Flourishing Pulse #463)
Start your year off right by being deliberate about what you take on
Beginnings often feel full of possibility. A new year, a new calendar, a new planner. A new set of goals and objectives, desires and aspirations, and plans and projects for how you’ll do it all.
But if you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that “doing it all” isn’t realistic — at least not if you want to do more of your best work (what matters most to you).
So while that crisp, new, empty planner/calendar/schedule might beckon like some siren of limitless possibility, before it has you overcommitting (to someone else or yourself), now is a good time to take a quick pause to assess your TEA, your commitments, and your plans BEFORE you say yes (or no) to something.
What you could say instead of yes or no
Here are a few options besides a (not-so-simple) yes/no:
Pause. “Let me think about it and get back to you.” Give yourself time and space to consider if it’s something a) you want to do, b) you have capacity to do, c) you have the ability to do. Let those answers help you decide if it’s a “hard no” or a “not now.”
Defer. “I can’t do that now but check back with me in [insert appropriate time frame].” This has two benefits: 1) it puts the responsibility of follow-up on the asker, and 2) it sometimes leads to the situation resolving itself without you before the waiting period is over.
Renegotiate. “I can’t do x but I might be able to do y.” Here’s where you can reduce scope, adjust timing, or delegate work to accommodate a request that otherwise isn’t possible for you.
Note that all of these leave open loops, which can be a drag on you (just like some of the open project categories Maghan talked about a few weeks ago). But sometimes you need a little more time to consider something, especially as you’re trying to line up your first months or first quarter for success.
Keep in mind that these answers aren’t just for OPP (other people’s priorities) — they might be answers for your own projects, too. You can just as easily pause, defer, or renegotiate with yourself to build a set of plans that work for you and don’t leave you overwhelmed.
Wednesday’s post, “New Year, Focused Goals: Planning and Prioritization Methods for Achievers,” includes a list of resources to help you with the prioritizing part of the planning process. We’ll be sharing more resources and tools all month long to help you plan this first part of your year realistically and successfully.
Other News & Features
If you’re in need of a more structured pause before the year gets underway (and away from you), there’s still time to join us in the Dominican Republic in February for the Level Up Retreat. Final registration is just a few weeks away (January 26), and we only have a few spaces left. Secure yours today. We have payment options available.
A paid PF subscription offers a lot more support for your start-of-year planning, including premium resources like the Momentum Planners, Momentum Planning E-Course, Annual Reflection Mini-Guide, and more. Your paid subscription also includes an invitation to our monthly community coaching calls to get in-the-moment answers and help as you’re prioritizing and planning your year.
It’s not too late to give a friend or family member the opportunity and support to envision, plan, and finish more of their best work — with a gift subscription to Productive Flourishing. Or gift yourself a paid subscription, if you haven’t yet.
Reads and Seeds
Trevor Noah has a new podcast, What Now?, that’s been great thus far. In his episode with Bill Gates, he poses the question about whether the value of money is the money itself or what it gives you access to. I would likely go with access. I found the answers his crew gave simultaneously interesting and problematic.
This study drew a difference between perfectionistic concerns and perfectionistic striving. Both cause distress, but perfectionistic concerns had stronger correlations with anxiety, OCD, and depressive symptoms. Either way, perfectionism isn’t exactly helping our mental health. (Another reason to focus on getting to good enough.)