Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I’m currently reading a book called Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. It is, as the title suggests, a nonfiction book about the importance of focussing only on what is most essential in life. McKeown reminds us that the way we spend our time is usually a choice and that every choice is a tradeoff. Every yes is a no to other things. A yes to volunteering means saying no to some family time, for example. If you say yes to everything, you end up saying no to some of the most important things. So it’s vital to say yes intentionally.
The Default Yes
If you aren’t saying yes to developing your writing habit, what are you saying yes to instead? Personally, I have developed the habit of checking Twitter. I rarely ever tweet, but I check to see what’s trending. But...who cares? Honestly, most of the stuff that’s trending now will be irrelevant in ten minutes. Also, much of it pisses me off. So why am I doing this? Why have I said yes to this? Instead, I could choose to spend those ten minutes writing or reading something worthwhile that I actually enjoy.
I’ll just have to force myself to say no more so that I can say yes to what matters.
This year, many parts of my life are not running in the usual way. My daughter’s school, for example, will be mostly remote. That means that there will be a number of things that I’ll have to force myself to say no to (not a strength of mine) in order to truly say yes to my daughter. I always want to fit everything in, but I can’t. When I try, I end up saying that I’ll do something (usually write) “later”. But “later” can turn into “never” if we’re not careful and conscious. So I’ll just have to force myself to say no more so that I can say yes to what matters.