I know someone, so cheerful and enthusiastic, who can barely let you finish your question before responding “Yes.”
“Do you want….” -“Yes!”
“Can you come…” -“Yes!”
I love this person. I could be asking her, “Do you want to eat my experimental meatloaf?” “Can you come and watch paint dry with me?” It simply doesn’t matter. She has many life stories to tell as a result of all the “Yes” in her life. She is, of course, a little overscheduled and probably under slept. But she never misses an opportunity if she can help it.
I realize that most of what we read when it comes to time management has to do with saying “No”. The magazines want us to prioritize our time, to not overstretch our obligations, and to learn the art of excusing ourselves from a holiday party here or a committee meeting there.
So before YOU excuse yourself as one of the busy people who can’t fit another thing into your schedule, I want you to know that it is certainly not a bad idea to prioritize your time. But what would it be like if, just for a month, you decided to say “Yes” to everything and taste it all? Where would you go, and with whom; what would you learn, and are you so very sure that you couldn’t do with a little more “Yes” in your life?
Think about the invitations and opportunities that came your way this past week alone:
- Maybe there is an Evite floating out there. Click Yes.
- The yoga class that you’ve been invited to off and on for a year? You go this time.
- The office is doing its regular Thursday happy hour, and you join the pack.
- Your neighbor wants you to water her plants and look after her iguana. You accept.
You’re not initiating these invitations, but it is still time and energy. Examine your invitations and you might see that what’s actually tiring is all these invitations are “hanging” out there undecided. For example, an Evite “Maybe” usually means “No”…but since you’ve left open the idea you might attend, you have to think about why you don’t want to go every time you see that e-mail. Contemplating a decision and trying to motivate is often more exhausting that just accepting and moving forward.
As an added benefit to yourself and others, to say “Yes” is to not have to constantly explain how busy you are, how important work is, and how tired you have been lately. This is really not that fun or interesting to you or anyone else. I should also add that if you are contemplating some sort of motivating change in your life, then saying “Yes” will open the doors to your biggest opportunities. When you say “Yes”, you become part of energy, activity (and if you’re lucky, my friend’s stories).
After a month’s experiment, you might scale it back a little. Or maybe you’ll realize that more “Yes” doesn’t really doesn’t take away at all from the free time you cherish. After all, if you’re in good company, it can be pretty fun eating experimental meatloaf and watching paint dry.