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Stop Saying Yes!

Do you say yes too often? Most of us do.

It’s hard to say no to a friend, a colleague, an idea. Especially when the request, when considered on its own, makes sense to say yes to.

Therein lies the problem.

Every time you say yes to something, you reduce the amount of resources you have to give to all the other things you’ve said yes to in the past.

We make yes-no decisions when we should be making portfolio decisions. We add projects, ideas and obligations when we should be replacing them.

The more we have to manage, the more spread out our resources become. And the more time we waste managing and switching from one responsibility to another.

If we’re aware of the problem, we often rationalize it:

  • It’s a quick little thing.
  • It only requires a few more resources.
  • It has so many great benefits.
  • I’m diversifying—not placing all my eggs in one basket.

And these sometimes hold truth.

But more often they mask the problem. Each decision we make independently of the others, not realizing we’re creating a portfolio.

Stop it.

Before you say yes, consider your existing time, money and mental energy portfolios. Can they handle it?

If so, go ahead and say yes.

If not, say no—or make an Either/Or decision: find an existing project or obligation that’s using your time or money, and cancel it. Free up your resources from your old thing as a condition of saying yes to your new thing.

Stop asking “Does it make sense to do this?” and start asking “Does it make sense to add this to my portfolio?”

Think of your time, your skills, your money and your products & services as being a portfolio. Aim to add things that increase the value of that portfolio, and avoid adding things that detract from the rest of your portfolio, even if they make sense standing alone.

Need help saying no? Check out these articles:

Next time we’ll talk about how the easiest portfolio to manage is a portfolio of one, and why you should avoid pre-mature diversification.

How do you manage your time, money or product portfolio? Do you say no often enough?

Credits: The photo used in this article was taken by Teresa Trimm.

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Comments

  1. This is a challenge to people like me who are curious about everything.
    A tough one, but so fruitful if you can do it consistently.

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