Filtering Out Opportunities, and Using Time Wisely

Filtering Opportunities and Using Time Wisely

Frequently, I get asked to do things, help with activities, given offers for employment or volunteering, and otherwise opportunities to invest my time and money in a good cause.

That’s when it’s most difficult to make decisions: when you know the cause is a good one. If you had an unlimited amount of time and money in your life, these situations would be so much easier, wouldn’t they?

So, how do you decide which opportunities and offers to say yes to, and which ones to say no to?

Don’t Answer Right Away

The first and most important tip I can give you is to never give an answer right away if at all possible. This may seem a bit harsh at first, but after years of finding myself with an overloaded schedule full of “good things”, I’ve learned to never give a quick yes to any opportunity that comes my way.

In short, a hasty answer on my part usually seems to lead to a wrong decision.

A hasty answer on my part usually seems to lead to a wrong decision. Wait. #goals Click To Tweet

If you only answer quickly based on whether or not something sounds like a good idea, you’ll soon find yourself with an overloaded schedule and not enough time for what is really important to you at this moment in your life. Just because something is a good idea, doesn’t mean you have to say yes.

Additionally, I always take time to pray about these activities and opportunities before I give an answer. My primary goal in life is to glorify God no matter what I’m doing or involved in. I need His wisdom to know how He wants me to spend the time and money He’s given me to achieve that. (see James 1:5)

There are other factors to consider, such as:

Does this opportunity fit my Personal Mission Statement?

In another post, I talked a little bit about creating my own personal mission statement, so that I’d have, in writing, what I value most in every area and role in my life.

This mission statement is super helpful in situations like this, because even if something is good in general, that doesn’t mean it’s good for me to be involved in.

Not one of us on this earth has enough hours in the day to be involved in every good activity that presents itself.

Does this opportunity fit my current goals?

I also have written up long term goals and annual goals to help me keep generally focused. Although I do allow some flexibility when unexpected things come up, my goals also help me to decide if such an opportunity is right for me to say yes to.

Sometimes an opportunity is a great thing, but just not a good thing for me at this moment. If I have more important things that have priority in my life at this time, saying no now will enable me to be better able to say yes to the things that matter later on.

For example, one annual goal we have right now is to insulate some spots in the house that are totally without insulation. Although there are many things that are available for me to get involved in right now, and charities I might donate more to at the moment, I have to keep my eyes on the prize so to speak. Spending that money and time, right now, on our dozen or so insulation projects over the next year will save us more in the long term on our heating costs, allowing me more time and money to help in the future. Not to mention, brrr it can be cold in this house in certain rooms during this polar vortex! The answer, therefore, has to be no on many of these requests.

Filtering Opportunities with Objectivity vs. Subjectivity

Although all of this may seem a bit harsh at first, I’ve found that the best way to make my time, effort, and cash count is to decide whether or not to say yes objectively instead of subjectively.

In other words, I decide based on facts, not my feelings.

I decide my to-do list based on facts, not my feelings. #goals #productivity Click To Tweet

I am a sucker for a good cause. While writing this post, I had two different charities calling and asking for donations for good causes, and they both had to be told no because of our financial situation and goals at the moment.

As busy moms, and busy people in general, we only have 24 hours in every day, and 8 of those hours are spent sleeping. This means, we each need to figure out how to best use the remaining 16 hours we have to accomplish what is important to our lives and our families at this moment.

We each need to figure out how to best use the #time we have. #goals Click To Tweet

This also means that, if we disconnect the emotional desire to affirm every good thing by getting involved in it, and start to view these requests more objectively (with facts…such as how full our schedule already is, and where we are at with the goals our family has decided on at the start of the year), we will find that we have the time for those things that matter most, because we’ve not packed our schedules up with everyone else’s twaddle.

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