Productivity experts will tell you that to avoid burnout and focus on what’s important at work, you have to say No.
That’s easy to do for those experts, who mostly work for themselves, but hard to do for anyone with bosses or demanding clients. I felt like I was too often saying Yes to work and No to my family and my own health and interests. For years work took the bulk of my mental energy and my time.
Since deciding to leave my FT downtown job and 2 hours of daily commuting* time behind, I’ve said Yes to chaperoning a 4th grade field trip to the Baltimore Aquarium, Yes to casually chatting with my kids and helping with homework without feeling like I should be catching up on work, Yes to taking a semi-spontaneous family trip, Yes to cooking dinner at home instead of too many visits to Chipotle, Yes to going to the gym and feeling healthier, Yes to signing up for a creative writing class that I didn’t feel like I had time for before.
And I’m excited to say Yes to the type of work that uses my skills to the fullest. For example, in addition to writing and researching to successfully convey messages to policymakers and other stakeholders, I enjoy editing and proofreading, and I’m good at it. I love looking things up on grammar websites like Grammar Girl when I’m not sure about the right word. I’m energized by fact-checking when something doesn’t sound right to me.
I’m not perfect, of course I miss stuff (please let me know if you find a typo in this post so I can fix it!), but making written products the best they can be is (honestly!) fun for me.
(My love of language is such a part of who I am, that for Christmas last year my husband bought me the wonderful Between You & Me, Confessions of a Comma Queen, by longtime New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris, which happily became my beach reading while we enjoyed Christmas week at the Florida shore with extended family.)
Saying Yes feels good. I’d love the opportunity to say Yes to using my writing and outreach skills to help you reach your business goals. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* If you suspect your commute is affecting your well-being, I recently came across research that shows you’re right. “A person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40 percent more money to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office.”