“Yes” and “no” are two simple words, but they carry a ton of weight. We live in a fast-paced world where we make hundreds of decisions every day about how to spend our time. And since time is our most precious resource, we should all be careful about how often we say yes.
Easier said than done, right? I want to give you five questions to ask yourself before making a time commitment so you can create a sense of balance in your life.
Can I do it?
This is the first and most obvious question—but isn’t it surprising how we overcommit ourselves and try to do 47 things at once? Be realistic. If you aren’t available, say so up front. If you are available, move on to the next four questions.
Is this a priority for me right now?
Even if you are available, you need to consider if this opportunity is a priority for you in your current season of life. Is it important to you? Do you actually care about it? If not, don’t give it space on your calendar.
What will I not be able to do if I do this?
We rarely, if ever, ask this question. But every decision comes at a cost. For everything you say yes to, you have to say no to a lot of other things. If you say yes to coaching your child’s soccer team, it means you won’t be able to sit on the sidelines and just watch and cheer. Calculate the time and energy cost and be realistic about whether or not you want to go for it.
How will this affect my family?
My default answer is to always say yes to new opportunities. But I learned early on in my marriage that this isn’t how my husband operates. It took me some time to understand how my decisions impact him—and not only him but our three kids as well.
Whether you’re single, married, with kids or without, think through how this decision will impact your closest relationships. Will you see less of your friends? Will your kids have to come with you to this new event or do you need to find a babysitter? I encourage you to communicate clearly with your spouse before making big time commitments.
Will I want to do it then?
So many things sound like a fantastic idea in the moment. Hosting the PTA at my house on Sunday nights? Sure! Attending a conference the weekend before Thanksgiving? Absolutely!
Don’t ask yourself if you want to do it right now — ask yourself if you’ll want to do it then. Will you really want to have people in your house every Sunday night? Is it a good idea to be out of town the weekend before you’re hosting family for the holidays? Framing it this way helps you avoid making decisions you’ll eventually regret.
I hope these five questions help you be more intentional with your time. I can guarantee making wise decisions will allow you to feel balanced and confident. After all, you only have this one precious life. You get to decide how to live it!