Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Time Management Tuesday: Yes Or No?

Last fall, Nancy Tandon, a writers' group buddy, did a post at her blog called The Power of "Yes." Interesting things happen to Nancy on a regular basis. We're talking TV and teaching, people. Why? She makes a good case that it's due to her willingness to say "yes" to new experiences.

Now, I'm a big believer in attitude impacting our lives. But what really interested me regarding what's been happening with Nancy is that in time management we're advised to say "no."

Like That Woman Said Years Ago, Just Say "No"

What the time management people mean is say "no" in order to protect your time, so it's available for working toward goals. For writers, we'd be protecting our time for writing. Time is like your core in a fight and overextending yourself with nonwork-related activities you've said "yes" to are attacks on it. (You know I love martial arts analogies.) Therefore, say "no" to volunteer work. "No" to craft classes. "No" to book discussions. "No" to walking groups. "No" to a second tai chi class each week. "No" to graduate school. Those are examples from my life, by the way.

But if you're saying "no" to so many new experiences, are you missing the kinds of opportunities Nancy writes about? Are you maybe even missing opportunities that could help with your writing?

What to do, what to do?

It Depends On Your Situation, Of Course

You know how we can't create one time management plan and expect it to always work for us because our life situations keep changing? Yeah, well, those changing life situations mean we can sometimes say "yes" to opportunities. Then, when our situation changes, we've got to live like monks and say, "no, no, no."
  • Early in our careers when we aren't publishing and don't have marketing and promotion eating up our time, we can say "yes" to more things.
  • When we're working on deadlines, we have to say "no."
  • If an activity is a multiplier, one that hits more than one of our work/personal goals, we may want to say "yes."
  • If we're working a day job as well as writing, we're probably going to hear the word "no" a lot. Coming from us. 
  • Volunteer work for a writers' organization might be a very good thing to say "yes" to because of the opportunities to meet people in our field. Then again, some of those volunteer positions are so demanding that the people holding them can't write for long periods of time. So..."no?"
A number of years ago, I had to say "no" to a writers' group, and four or five years ago, I would never have been able to say "yes" to all the professional events I've attended recently. But my situation has changed. You hear "yes" at my house more often these days.

If, like Nancy and me, you find yourself in a situation in which you can say "yes," you might want to take advantage of it. Change is constant. Your situation is bound to be different somewhere down the road.


Nancy said...


Gail Gauthier said...

Last week I did say yes to something.