I was having coffee with my friend the other day when I told him that I have this burning desire to sign up for figure-drawing classes. He took one look me and said: "Don't take up anything before running it by me first!"
It's actually a good idea. He had recently seen me stressed out of my mind trying to juggle work, studies, and banking and legal matters. It would seem that I need someone else to tell me that a new project or hobby is the last thing I needed!
Being an ENFP, I have a tendency to hop from one shiny project to another. I often end up frazzled, over-busy, exhausted and burned out.
My relationships suffered too.
The other day, my mom complained that she hardly sees me anymore. Our occasional breakfasts and morning walks was sacrificed to the altar of my studies.
This was no way to live.
Time is a precious resource, and I think I need to learn to say NO a bit more. So, before taking on that extra project, here are some questions to ask:
1. Do you have unfinished projects?
If your schedule is already choked up with obligations, having another on heaped on your already full plate is a bad idea. Read my previous post about Harvard's formula to find out if you're over-committed.
2. How many hours does this project demand?
Determine how many hours this new project will require and consider if you can take it on without harming the execution of your other projects. You will lose your credibility if you can't commit 100% to a work project, so if your new project interferes with previous commitments, say no.
3. Does this project contribute to your goals or is it a distraction?
For example, your idea of taking that knitting class will probably not contribute to your dream of publishing a sci-fi novel. So, if I'm already overloaded, I may pass on that class. For now.
4. Do you have margin?
Margin is extra, unscheduled time that you can use if emergencies crop up. Your schedule needs breathing room too; a schedule without one would ensure that you'll feel frazzled and rushed. (My month of hell is a big testament to that.) Schedule margin in your diary. Make them "do not touch" blocks of time. But what if there are no emergencies? Well, you can use the time to do whatever you want, such as take a walk in the park of watching a movie! How awesome is that?
5. What are you sacrificing if you take this on?
Let's say your side project would require you sacrificing weekends with your family for a year. Is this a sacrifice you are willing to me? Is there another way to reschedule family commitments?
How about you? What are the questions you ask yourself before you take on a project or a hobby? What do you do to make sure that you're not sacrificing the quality of your life by taking on too much?
Photo by AnnieAnniePancake