Say no to 1,000 things

Everything in the universe at this moment is telling me that my biggest lesson in life is about saying “NO.” Each day I find an article, read a book, have a conversation that reiterates the ongoing dilemma I have with life. What can I truly handle? Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Yes, and no. It really depends. I do know that I need to figure out a way to scale back. Part of that means that I have to say “No” more and more and more. How does one do that when your modus operandi is to help others, solve problems, and to try to make the world a better place one day at a time?

I wanted to share a few of the ideas that have been bombarding my thoughts these last few days. I came across this Steve Jobs quote:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

If I could truly do what Jobs said, maybe I could have a fraction of the success he had in life. It has become a common theme for me these past few weeks and months to figure out how to scale back at work and at home and yet life feels like it is a treadmill on the highest speed, and sometimes at the highest incline. At times it feels like the buttons are inoperable and I am not able to adjust to the appropriate speed, so it means running crazy fast and then wondering how long I can sustain the speed.

There was this Fast Company article called: “The Exact Amount of Time You Should Work Every Day” that shared this idea:

Make Realistic To-Do Lists: “We often bog down our to-do lists and make them not feasible for us to accomplish [plus] we underestimate how long it’s going to take us to do something,” says Sexton.

Prioritize tasks. Choose three major tasks to focus on for the day and add other tasks as they pop up throughout the day to a separate list, readjusting your priorities throughout the day if required. It’s a lot easier to look at a list of three tasks than 30. Once you knock off the first three items, choose your next three priorities from your lengthier list.

I do not feel like I have a problem with To-Do Lists, tracking what I need to do, or prioritizing my tasks. I feel it is having too much happening at once. Too many projects to track on, too many deliverables, and not enough time or bandwidth to execute or strategize on how to make it all happen.

How have you learned to say, “No?” Teach me. I want to learn. I want to know what has worked for you.

Head out of the clouds

We talk about random acts of kindness and how we do not always know the impact we have made on another’s life. We might pay for the coffee of the person behind us at Starbucks, or let someone go ahead of us in line at the grocery store. We may never see that individual again, and we never know if our small act has made an impact on their day. We don’t do it to say, “I did this.” Instead, we do it out of love, we do it to be selfless, we do it to lighten another’s load.

Often, I am deep in my thoughts, a zillion to-do lists cascading through my mind as I walk, drive, or scurry from point A to B. Yet, as I check items off the list, and add new items, I may miss opportunities to help another. I could always be more aware of what is happening around me. How often do you notice someone in need, and yet keep walking because you think, “I do not have time to stop.” or “I have too much to do to think about how to help.” I get it, as I am sure we all have those days, but has that become the norm that we are too busy to stop?

When I saw this video (in Thai, with subtitles), I immediately thought, if only we all could be more like this man, the world would be a better place. I know I often write about awareness, helping others, and gratitude, but each time I find a new idea I always want to share it. Repeating similar message in different ways allows us each to open our thoughts to new ways of thinking. Each are new reminders on how to lead better lives. My hope is the ideas that inspire me, will only then inspire others. So watch this man share of himself and hopefully be inspired.

We each could probably be better about keeping our head out of the clouds. Together lets notice more of what is happening around us. It might help us to see that all those lists are of small importance to what is happening around us.