Of Course You Want to Do More

By Leo Babauta

One of the hardest things about saying No and simplifying your day is that there’s so much you want to do!

I know this is the case with me — I want to say yes to meetings with interesting people, to say yes to cool new projects, to be a part of fascinating organizations, to contribute to blogs and books and the careers of people just starting out.

That’s not to mention everything else I’d like to do: travel the world, go to conferences, learn languages, learn to program and play guitar, try new restaurants, cook amazing meals and have dinner parties, try new experiences in the city around me …

It all sounds amazing.

How do you say no to any of this? Isn’t it wrong to skip any of that, when it’s absolutely incredible and on your dream list? Isn’t it right to want to do all that?

Well, there’s nothing wrong with wanting it — it’s totally natural. It’s human nature to want to do incredible things and be a part of cool things and meet fascinating people. We can’t help that.

However, the problem is that if we say Yes to all of that, we have a life that’s crammed full, overflowing, and complicated. It becomes stressful, and we can’t do everything, so we are doing nothing well.

The first step to solving this problem is admitting we can’t do everything. At least, not right now. We just don’t have the bandwidth.

The second step is resolving to be more conscious, to cut back, to create some space and simplicity in our lives. If we commit to doing this, we commit to making choices, to prioritizing what’s most important so we have room for that important stuff, and the sanity to actually do it well.

The third step is figuring out what’s most important. This is difficult because it all sounds brilliant, but we can’t do it all … so we have to make hard choices. It’s not easy. But nothing worth doing is easy, right? So make the choices.

The fourth step is regularly saying No to the things that don’t make the cut. This means today, but also every single day when new requests and opportunities come in. We have to make it a conscious habit, to check the new opportunity against your short list of most important stuff. We have to step back regularly and ask if we’re saying Yes to too much.

And the final step is enjoying the simplicity. Enjoy the time you’ve created for what matters most. And know that this is better than trying to do it all, no matter how tempting doing it all might be.