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Ambitious creatives and creators must learn to filter out distractions. It’s a survival skill.
Whenever you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else. And vice versa.
The more yesses you give, the more commitments you will have to fulfill on.
And the more times you say “no,” the more you will leave space for what matters to you.
Sooner or later, as you continue to grow, opportunities are going to start showing up at your doorstep, wanted or not.
If you don’t learn how to control the flow of opportunity, and if you don’t have filters for sorting them out, you’re going to be swamped.
In a broader sense, Derek Sivers’ Hell Yeah or No filter works perfectly. Basically, it’s about only saying “yes” to things that excite you and bring you joy and saying “no” to all else.
Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a similar philosophy as applied to decluttering and organizing your home, but it’s just as applicable to opportunity.
But on a more granular level, it can be challenging to separate the wheat from the chaff.
So, here’s an example of how I control the flow of opportunity, especially as applied to email:
- I welcome emails. That said, I set the expectation upfront that I may not answer for a week or two (which is generally the case).
- If the sender doesn’t mention my name, I delete the message.
- If the sender hasn’t demonstrated a clear understanding of who I am or what I do, I delete the message.
- If the sender hasn’t identified the mutual benefit of the communication, I delete the message.
- If the email is about guest posting or buying links and it’s coming from an SEO agency, I delete the message.
- I actively unsubscribe from newsletters I never read.
Some of this may seem kind of harsh. But if I didn’t have these filters, guaranteed I would get swallowed up in tasks that neither excite me nor bring me joy.
It’s your time. You’ve got to guard it with your life because it is your life.
Create filters. Document them. Follow them. And put more stringent rules in place as necessary.Create filters. Document them. Follow them. And put more stringent rules in place as necessary. Click To Tweet
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