I had a bad habit of over-committing myself from time to time.

Today, for example, I have a to-do list with 20 hour-long items on it. It’s a work list that doesn’t include things on my personal to-do list (which is much longer — I haven’t had the chance to cull down like Paul has).

When I overcommit, I end up canceling appointments, showing up 15 minutes late to every meeting, and going to bed late – and the cycle just keeps on going until I do something to break it.

It makes me look bad; like I’m lazy even though I’m working harder than ever. It makes me look like I need to be managed (even though fixing the problem is as simple as saying “No”). It’s like those restaurants in Kitchen Nightmares who have a million different things on the menu – the three things they do well are great, but take forever to get to the pass. Everything else induces rampant food poisoning.

I’ve given away free billable hours because of it. I’ve had non-business partnerships decimated by it. I’ve been badmouthed to my friends and associates because of it.

It’s funny how saying “Yes” to even one more task can cause so much damage. I see it now, though – and I’m owning it. It’s a habit I intend to kill like Napoleon Dynamite kills braincells (fast and without remorse).

This doesn’t mean anyone should stop asking me for things and isn’t directed at anyone in particular. I’m just venting.

Just know, if you ask me for something and I say “No”, it’s not because I don’t care – it’s because I wouldn’t be able to give you enough bandwidth right now to really help you. And, if you see me saying “Yes” to something you know I don’t have time for, bug me about it, will ya?

PS – the haters can eat crow. Real partners don’t put roadblocks in your way – if they don’t like your direction, they let you know and walk you through or step back to help you see from another angle until you get righted again. Anyone else is a joker who isn’t worth your time.

(Header photo: Watch Your Back by MassDistraction)