pen making checks in check boxes Working more insightfully means finding the most productive four tasks to invest time and energy into rather than checking 10 off the list because that’s the way we were trained. (Photo: Shutterstock)

What are your priorities? Simple question, right?

Maybe in theory, but not in real life. Prioritizing means saying “no” (or at least “not now”) and that can be difficult. Earlier in my career, I was asked to join the board of directors for a nonprofit organization whose mission I believed in. Not long after that, I was asked to join another board. And then another. And another. I said yes way more than I said no. After all, if you can help make a positive impact, how can you say no? Before long it became clear that by saying yes to so many of the organizations I cared about, I was not putting myself in the best position to help them. It’s possible I was even hurting them. That’s because the more you say yes, the less time, attention, and focus you have to give to any one endeavor.

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