Last week, I wrote about How to Say ‘No’ (and rescue your schedule). I’m so happy to hear that so many of you loved the post! I was thrilled to read so many comments!
One question that popped up in the comments was, “How can you tell if something is worth your time?” It’s an amazing question, and one I’ve been thinking about a lot.
Not everything will be fun…
The tricky thing about this question is that the answer isn’t obvious.
“Only do things that are fun” is bad advice. I mean, you should go to the dentist, right?
“Only do things that are good for you” seems similarly misguided… in real life, it’s okay to have an ice cream sundae once in a while!
The truth is somewhere in between. Something can be worth your time for a variety of reasons, but it’s important to make sure the cost to yourself is not too steep.
Here are a few questions to ponder when considering whether something is worthwhile for you to tackle:
- Are you the only person who can do it?
- Is the benefit that comes from you doing it greater than the mental/physical cost to you?
- Is it fun? And relatively harmless?
- Is it good for you?
- Would you feel relieved if you did it?
- Do you think life would overall be better if you do it?
- Can you do it without causing immense distress to your own life?
- Would the cost of outsourcing the task be too high?
- Is it something you could be proud of doing?
These are really great questions to ask yourself… and I’m sure you can come up with a few questions of your own.
Questions in action
Let me give you an example. This week, I did my taxes. They’re really boring and awful, and there are about a million things I’d rather be doing than my taxes.
But, because I run FreshStitches, I’m literally the only person in the world who can accurately compile the numbers for my business. Only I know where the relevant spreadsheets, receipts and forms are in my office. And, really, once I got it done, I felt proud and satisfied. And it only took me a full day to do, which is worth it considering the cost and hassle it would have taken to hire the task out.
What’s a task that I turn down? I’m often asked to design a custom pattern. I know doing so would take more than 25 hours, and involve even more time when you account for emailing sketches back and forth, making changes, etc. It’s not a task that can fit into my schedule without having massive disruption. And I’m not the only one who can do it… a customer has a very high chance of finding another willing designer!
Are you guilty of accepting tasks you shouldn’t?
Or, do you have a really great question you ask yourself when deciding whether something’s worth your time?
I’d love for you to share your experiences!