Ask Yourself This Question Before Making a New Temporary Commitment.

The next time someone asks if you want to take a course, join a committee, or be part of their new book club, don’t answer on the assumption that you will find a way to make room for that time in the future. …

Instead, ask yourself if you could say yes to this new opportunity if it happened tomorrow.

If tomorrow is already so full of responsibilities and obligations that adding one more thing will lead you to overwhelm, well, chances are good that you will find yourself in the same situation a month later, when the book club to which you agree to Visit finally hits the beginning your calendar.

And then you will be outraged at saying yes, and feel guilty about not taking the time to read the book, and saying yes because of commitment or theoretical pleasure becomes just another thing you need to do. …

And it’s not even something that you want to do more.

The idea is to ask yourself, “Can I make this commitment if it starts tomorrow?” taken from a recent issue of the Recomendo newsletter (cited by Inc. , where I saw it) in which Kevin Kelly explains:

One of the most helpful pieces of advice I have ever received came from writer Anna Herbert, who said that whenever she was asked to do something months or even a week in advance, she would ask herself if she would accept a concert / meeting. / exercise. if it was tomorrow. The answer was often no. I use this spontaneity trick all the time, and it came in handy.

If you are the type of person who prepares an hourly plan for each day (that is, if you are me ), you can rephrase the question: “Can I do this if it started next week? “Tomorrow is already planned out and geared towards fulfilling various commitments and goals, but I haven’t fully planned the next week yet, so I could ask myself if I can get into one more thing or if I’m too stressful for the whole week.

Because if adding a new commitment makes your next week exhausting, that commitment will likely make your week exhausting, no matter when it actually happens.

However, there are some commitments you will want to make time for – family events, activities with friends, job opportunities, and so on. There are also kinds of commitments that go straight to hell, yes, to the side of “hell, yes or no?”

This means that you may have to ask yourself one more question before you say yes: if that commitment were met tomorrow or next week, what other commitment or action would have to be off my schedule for this to happen?

And then say yes or no accordingly – and from the bottom of your heart.

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