How many times have you said any of the following this week:
- “Why did I agree to go to coffee with this random person?”
- “Ugh, I just really don’t know why I signed up for this networking event.”
- “How did I end up taking on this boring side project?”
We so often get caught up in our constant hustling that it’s easy to overdo it. You say yes one too many times, and the next thing you know, you’re stuck with all sorts of obligations that make you want to groan.
My particular weakness has always been networking opportunities. I sign up for any that sound at all appealing, only to find myself exhausted by the time I have to go, or realizing too late that some just aren’t a good fit. However, I love doing all the things . So, how do I prioritize while also not missing out?
Well, there’s a simple solution to this issue—and it’s only two words: “Hell yeah!”
Writer and entrepreneur Derek Shivers wrote a great piece about his “hell yeah!” philosophy for people who spread themselves too thin. It’s as straightforward as it sounds: If your immediate reaction to something isn’t, “Hell yeah!” then don’t do it.
I tried it out for several days, and sure enough, it worked: If a networking opportunity or other event wasn’t making me want to pump my fist in the air, I declined. I was pickier with whom I went to coffee with as well as how much time I allotted for different people. This strategy was incredibly effective in getting me to think before I RSVPed.
It forces you to ask yourself: Is there a benefit to attending this event? Why do I want to hang out with this person in the first place? And, what am I hoping to get out of it? If I came up with a big, fat nada, it wasn’t worth it.
There was another advantage to seeking the “hell yeah!” approval: When events did pass the test, I found that I enjoyed them much more. They’d gotten through some form of scrutiny to get on my calendar—so I went with the intention of getting as much out of them as possible. A win-win, right?
Obviously, this exercise doesn’t work for everything. If your boss gives you a project you really don’t want to do, you can’t turn it down and cite your lack of enthusiasm as a reason. If a crucial networking contact invites you to coffee, you also shouldn’t just say, “Eh, I’m not feeling it.”
But if you’re like me and you run into trouble with prioritizing, the “hell yeah!” strategy is an elegant one. Just make sure you don’t scream it out loud all day.