It’s a new year. How will you spend your time?

When an email comes into your inbox or somebody calls you to get together, how do you decide whether to say yes or no?

I get asked these questions a lot.

I like to take two types of meetings –

1/Where I am genuinely interested in learning and or creating with the other person. If I say “no” to somebody, it isn’t because I don’t want to build with them. I just might not know, and at that specific moment may have bigger priorities, areas I’m more curious about, or people I am more interested in connecting with.

2/It’s a project I’ve committed to and I can provide or will gain significant value from being present for the topic at hand 

This especially applies to set-up meetings because creating the right action plans and officially delegating responsibilities can save a lot of time in the future. It’s critical to have clarity of your responsible tasks and to understand your role in a project.

Toward the end of last year, I have been scheduling way less than ever before to leave room for what I want to do in the moment – this allows ample time for deep work and for me to be more present to each scheduling commitment I do make.

As I plan the next week, I review my network and decide who I want to spend time with – This ensures I will be engaged in the coming week’s commitments. I’ve found this method much more productive and conducive to success than letting responses to my inbox determine how I spend my time.

I’m not a robot in this regard, but I do recognize time is our most limited resource and the highest levels of success do require utmost prioritization.

If you’re debating whether you should be saying “yes” or “no” more this year, nobody can answer that – you get to find your balance.

It depends on how often you instinctively say “yes” or “no” – My rule of thumb is if I feel like I’ve been saying yes to often, maybe it’s time to say no, and vis-versa.

No is a decision. Yes is a responsibility. When you say no, you are only saying no to one option. When you say yes, you are saying no to every other option.” -James Clear

We also need to remember to say no to ourselves… to our ugliest habits and unbalanced emotions. If you’re working hard to break a habit this year, remember, it’s a lot easier to be 100% than 98%.

In closing, one of my favorite lessons from last year is your inbox can always wait. It’s just a to-do list made up by other people. This year, if you want 10x results, it’s not about doing what others want you to do – it’s about doing what you want to do! Now, go get it.

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