Sometimes I fall into a trap of shiny idea syndrome, where every morning I have ten new ideas for my business. I’ve trained myself to have a notebook near my bed, and jot them down.
Now, I’m trying to be more selective about what ideas I want to move forward with. While I wish I could do all the things, I have resource constraints. I only have so much time and energy to devote to each day, month, or year.
I love the saying: “You can have it all, but not all at once.”
This is where it helps to have a metric for which items will be the most meaningful to pursue. Here’s how I currently measure mine:
Will this teach me something new?
Is it something I will be excited about a year from now? Five years from now?
Will this negatively impact other areas where I spend my time (family, personal, business, etc.) and to what extent?
How will this support my long-term vision for myself?
Being discerning about new opportunities is a great muscle to build, because it allows you to be clearer about your boundaries and think through the short-term and long-term impacts of a new project.
There isn’t a secret formula like “3 yeses means I should go for it,” but it’s identifying what you hope to gain out of an experience, and whether any negative impacts will be short-lived or long-term and if that’s something you’re wiling to accept.
For example, I get excited about learning a new industry, but the appeal wears off once it’s not new anymore. I’ve found over time that if I can find different new things to pursue (like changing departments or different types of projects) I will thrive in working at the same company.
If the time commitment for a project has no end date, I get wary about it. That’s when I need to test it against my long-term vision for myself (to author a book is my current one ;)) so if this isn’t in service of that, then I have to think hard about what else in my life needs to shift so both can happen, or I’ll need to say no.
What are your strategies for saying yes to a new idea or opportunity? Feel free to start with mine and refine them with your own metrics.