Sometimes Time Helps You Say Yes or No to a New Project

9 months ago!

I’ve been asked on numerous occasions how I make the decisions about new potential projects and how I know when to say “Yes” and when to say “No.” To be honest my methods aren’t very easy to describe as a lot of is based primarily on intuition but I will say that one of the best ways that I’ve discovered that helps me say “No” is simply the passage of time.

As you can see above I got a serious itch to look for an Administrative Assistant to help me out with all of the various projects that I have to juggle every single day. This wasn’t the first time that I felt that I had this need and it certainly wasn’t the last but what I did with this “project,” the quest to find the best administrative assistant that was ever born, was to wait patiently to see if I could find one organically – or to see if it manifested itself in some other fashion.

I wait, watched, networked, and also challenged myself to change my personal workflow to manage, reduce, and optimize my efforts. It paid off – literally, since this administrative assistant position was definitely a paid role (I would never not pay anyone to work in this type of role with me – it wouldn’t be worth it!).

So here I sit, nearly 9 months later, surviving without that “rockstar” personal assistant. In fact, I’ve never been more productive; I’m thriving. Perhaps just the thought of bringing someone on to handle my mess was exactly what I needed to provide the jumpstart to evolve my productivity cycle to the next level.

For sure at some point I will most likely need one but not now – and the same can be said about a lot of the projects you may be considering this coming year. Sure, you want to make sure you’re in a pattern of forward momentum but there are also a handful of things where “progress” could be defined as waiting.

Or rather, where you point your efforts and energy into fixing a current solution instead of attempting to create an entirely new one. In this case the progress was me and not adding an additional warm body to the mix.

  • Charles Specht

    Yes, the fact is simply that we have not been good time managers. (Or maybe that’s just me.) Certainly there are people “out there” that need an administrative assistant, but I think some people just like the idea of having someone else carry their bags for them.

    • John Saddington

      i love my email… and i love to manage it myself… … i hate email, what am i saying… but i’d rather manage it myself.

  • Chase

    Time definitely plays a big role in my projects. A great idea at night turns out to be a lousy one by the next day. It’s all about perspective and time gives us a better view on things. Everyone’s in such a rush to do things that sometimes we forget to let a project mature a bit before we go with it. It’s easy to hire an assistant to straighten out our organizational nightmares. It’s a lot harder to give ourselves time to see if we can fix things so we wouldn’t need an assistant really.

    • John Saddington

      i think many people who have one don’t actually need one (or should have one). it’s what the “job” requires. lame…!

  • Alex Humphrey

    On Monday, I’m going to begin reviewing my year and planning out next year. The whole process takes anywhere from 3 days to a week.

    I will definitely keep this in mind as I plan. Planning to wait may be just what I need for a few nagging projects. It’ll free me up to focus on other things.

    • Chase

      Any particular structure to your review/planning or do you just start going through everything?

    • John Saddington

      and…? it’s tuesday. how’s it going?

  • Loren Pinilis

    I’m a big proponent of striving for efficiency before hacking and slashing away at your projects. So many people just say no to this and no that instead of thinking if there’s any way they can do their existing tasks better. Kudos to you for getting more efficient!

    • John Saddington

      thanks loren! it’s taken a lot of practice and trial and error, that’s for sure.