Magazine article American Libraries

Retreat! Retreat! Choosing What Really Matters

Magazine article American Libraries

Retreat! Retreat! Choosing What Really Matters

Article excerpt

Are commitments to your library, family, and professional or social activities colliding? Are you guilty of promising more than you can effectively deliver? I, too, have suffered the throes of having said "yes" too many times to worthy commitments that came too closely spaced.

Efficiency expert David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (Viking, 2001), says that the best way to get more time is to "learn to say no--faster, and to more things. ..."


A dear friend commented that, at a certain point, the quality of our lives is not about adding more stuff, but about selecting what really matters and letting go of the rest. How do you say no to wonderful choices? (Disclaimer: I am not recommending saying no to your boss. That can be a career-limiting move!)

Ask the right questions

It is an important life skill to learn to ask these questions: Which choices support my life's purpose and values? What is the consequence if I say no to this? Am I doing things that matter to me and not just trying to win the approval of others? Am I realistic about what I can accomplish, so I do not let people down? Conversely, am I being as productive as I can be? Am I managing my resources (time, energy) effectively? Is there more I could or should do?

Head for the hills

We all need to escape once in a while to reconsider our options. Take a day, or just a morning, for a mini-retreat to refocus. Pack a notebook (paper or laptop), favorite snack, a beverage, and may be an inspiring quote or two. Then head into the woods, hills, local college student center, coffee shop, state park, large hotel lobby, or public library in an other community. …

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