As I reflect back on my early 20s, I realize that I spent a lot of time juggling too many commitments. In college, I joined a sorority, signed up for various executive boards, volunteered in the community and became a resident advisor, all while trying to maintain decent grades in an extremely rigorous and demanding academic environment. Needless to say, my grades suffered and I barely made it out of undergrad in one piece.
After leaving school, the landscape changed, but the behavior remained the same.
Instead of overexerting myself as a student, I was overexerting myself in an attempt to become more marketable to employers. I jumped at any and every mixer, networking event, project, and freelance gig I could get my hands on! And while many of these experiences were valuable – I learned, grew, and was exposed to new opportunities – in hindsight, I do think that those moments were opportunities for me to be more intentional and discerning about my decisions.
Too often, we idealize ‘yes,’ but ‘no’ can be just as powerful.
Balancing a full-time job, personal projects, freelance work and volunteer commitments has made me much more aware of how I allocate my time. While I do recognize that I’m the type of person who derives a sense of fulfillment from being involved in many activities, I have learned to scale back and be much more selective about what those activities are.
“I would rather do a few things well than many things poorly.”
Every day is a work in progress, but I truly believe that the first step to a more intentional and focused life begins with learning that it’s sometimes okay to just say no!