For most of my 15-year career, people have often asked me to head a committee, lead a project or produce an extraordinary masterpiece all under the guise of “I Know You’re Busy But… We Need You.” It’s recently come to my attention that being busy has a way of backslapping you in the face. Too many missed deadlines, unreturned phone calls and silly excuses can soon make you realize that being busy is not as important a job as it seems. And I’m not just talking about work. From the church to the PTA to the nonprofit to 100-hour per week job, believe me, you don’t have to do it all, nor should you. Black women get caught up in the insane notion that if you do more, you mean more to the world. In actuality, sewing seeds without taking the time to enjoy the fruit is futile. So, it is here that I make some new rules to regain my own peace of mind and hopefully you will too:
Take Your Time: Hurrying through life only leads to headaches and high blood pressure. Slow down, take it all in and enjoy what you do, otherwise, don’t do it.
Manage Your Time… Differently: I once had a boss tell me: “Everything is Not a Priority.” That was like an epiphany for me because prior to that I thought everything was a priority. Now, I think in terms of how long will this take to complete and when is the deadline. Then I work backward from there to decide when a project needs to get done and how best to accomplish it.
Say ” No”: This is NOT a word I use often with colleagues, family or my fellow nonprofit committee members. If you already have too much on your plate, say it. Explain that you’re not the best person for the task because you would not be able to give it the time and attention it deserves. Yes, that’s a nice way of saying no.
The next time someone asks you to do something, put your best interests first, not theirs. Good luck!