Your 2020 “Heck Yes” Challenge

Posted on January 16, 2020

Leslie Knope Yes But I Don't Want To

Today’s Morning Buzz is by Jessica Hoffman. Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn.

What I’m Reading: Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean by Kim Scott

What I’m Watching: Criminal Minds and The Office reruns

This time of year you are likely working on your new year’s goals. You are vowing to sweat a little more, read more books or sign up to learn something new. Maybe you are planning to get to work early or stay late so you can work on career goals for the year or maybe it’s the year you want to start saying “yes” to more things. I am here to tell you, it’s okay to make this year to say “no” in fact if it’s not a “heck yes” then it’s a “no.” This means if it is not something you feel passionately about, then it’s a “no.”

Full disclosure, I am not a person that says “no” often. It’s in my nature to help and to stay busy. So, when someone asks me to join a committee or club or leadership role, I almost always say “yes.” I say “yes” to projects and to things I see as opportunities to learn and experience new things. Unfortunately, what I have learned is, when I say “yes” to everything, I am saying “no” to other things. When I say “yes” to extra meetings and weekend events, I am saying “no” to my family or my own self-care. Don’t get me wrong, I have an amazingly supportive husband. He also doesn’t mind being at home alone every now and then so he can work on a house project or finish a puzzle in peace. 

While there are some weeks that are busier than others, in general, it’s important to make sure you have time to do other things outside of work. I would argue that it’s actually critical that we do things outside of work because it makes us better employees. It gives our brains some time to rest and recharge. I think we have all experienced a time when we took a step back to look at something (or took a break and came back) that we found the answer was right in front of us. Instead of working harder, longer or just “more” I have some challenges for you in the year ahead.

2020 Challenges

  • Take some time for yourself every day. If you are a salaried employee and find yourself working 50+ hours a week, I challenge you to start leaving at 5 pm every day for a week. If that’s not possible due to council or board meetings, then take a long lunch break and go for a walk or go eat with an old friend. It’s okay to flex your time and take care of yourself. If you are a supervisor, encourage your employees to do the same. If none of these are reasonable in the immediate future, give yourself a 15-minute “smoke break” and leave your desk. Call a friend or family member, go for a walk outside of the building, go grab a soda from the gas station (reward yourself!). Do whatever you need to do, but be intentional and put it on your calendar if necessary.


  • Set boundaries and expectations. You might say “yes” to something but give that person a reasonable turnaround time. Let them know it might be later this week before you can get back to them as you have other priorities (including the ones you made for yourself i.e. remember you’re leaving at 5 pm!). Make these boundaries and expectations known to those around you.


  • Re-prioritize if necessary. Maybe you already said “yes” to more things than you can handle. Maybe you’re already finding 2020 a little overwhelming. 
    • First, organize your thoughts. Give yourself five minutes (set a timer) and write down all the things you are feeling overwhelmed about. Then, organize them into two columns, “Can Control” and “Can’t Control” (things you can control ex. personal tasks, emails to get sent, projects, etc. versus things you can’t control ex. other people, what other people think, the actions of other people, what is going to happen to the next season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine).
    • Second, ignore the things you can’t control. It is difficult sometimes, but focusing on the things I can control helps me manage. If I have overcommitted, I try to prioritize and see where I can delegate or withdraw. This is not the easiest thing to do, but sometimes it has to be done. If none of those is an option, try to modify the deadline or time commitment. Set realistic expectations for the commitment and the people you committed to.

Just remember, when someone comes and asks you for help on that “small” project or to join a committee or whatever it may be, consider what you may be saying “no” to if you say “yes.” Make 2020 your year of every “yes” truly being a “heck yes.”

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