Last week, we focused on changing your relationship with your email so that you are not at the mercy of your Inbox to set your agenda for the day.  Today, we want to focus on another area that can challenge your ability to focus on the things that truly matter to you – your commitments to others. 


Knowing your priorities and spending time on those things that matter to you are important for your health, your energy, your investment in your work, your availability to friends and family, your creativity, and your passion.  The research on this matter is clear.  So today, we’d like you consider experimenting with managing your commitments.   We mean it when we say, experimenting, because what works for you may not work for others.  And we are also using the word experimenting because an experiment requires creating certain conditions over time and assessing the impact. 


There are many (MANY) of us who say “yes” to things without a moment of pause to assess if saying yes supports creating the life, connection and success you envision for yourself.


There are three things to do when you are asked to make a commitment (from driving carpool to facilitating a corporate merger):


  1. Pause – take a breath, take a drink of water, take a bathroom break – but pause and think to yourself “is what I’m about to say or do in alignment with what’s important to me?”
  2. Assess if you have choice.  Most of the time people assume they don’t have a choice when in fact, they do.  Taking the time to assess if you have the choice to say “no” is critical to reclaiming your energy and your time.
  3. If you do have choice, only agree to the things that are in alignment with your personal and professional vision. If you don’t have choice, do what you can to contain the commitment into a time frame or energy demand that will genuinely work for you.


Many of us just say “yes” without a true understanding of what that yes means – that you will have to say no to your personal goals.  This week, experiment with these steps to see if you can only make commitments to those things that are important to you.