When I first got into medical school I said “yes” to almost every opportunity. I’d say yes to everything, from paperwork to filming.
I’d join numerous projects, always said yes to others and still push myself to do well for my exams. I burnt out at the end.
Now that I’m nearing the end of my second year of medical school, I realised that I had to be more selective with my time, energy and attention. I had to start saying “no”.
I always hated saying “no” to others. I hate letting other people down. My identity was that I was someone “useful”. But if I’m “useful”, then I might as well be a tool.
Being at home for the past few months has helped me to clarify what really matters to me, and helped me think about where I spend my time, energy and attention. I had to start saying “no” or I’m putting everyone else’s priorities on top of mine.
I came up with a simple checklist to decide whether I should say “yes” or “no” to an opportunity.
- Is it a “Hell Yeah”? If not, then “no”.
- Would I do this for free?
- Am I neglecting my priorities if I said yes?
- Will it help others?
- Can I grow from this?
- If I died tomorrow, would I regret saying no?
The list is not exactly a one size fits all for all opportunities I come across, but I’d use it when in doubt. Of course, if a friend needs help, I won’t go through the list and be an ass. But the list helps me clarify my decisions and priorities better.
Your checklist might be different from mine, depending on what you are trying to optimise for, but I hope it gives you some inspiration on how to start your own checklist.
What would your checklist look like?
Thanks for reading,