DonnaM » Blog Archive » No! No! No! No! No!

No! No! No! No! No!

See the title – that’s me practicing. I’m practicing saying no, because I don’t do it nearly well enough. And as a result, I am completely overwhelmed. This is my public confession – if I don’t say it publicly, I’ll keep pretending it isn’t a problem.

So here’s how things are for me right now:

  • I’m working 60 hours a week, and my to-do list doesn’t shrink
  • I’m behind on all my projects – none of my clients are worried, but I’m not happy with where I’m up to
  • I’m on two boards for organisations I love, and not managing to do anything substantial for them
  • I’ve been writing my book for 18 months and it still isn’t done (I’m making progress, but slowly)
  • I have two clients I really enjoy working with, and haven’t talked to them in two months
  • I’ve had my first situation where I think a client is not returning calls because I’ve been unreliable
  • My kitchen is a mess and I haven’t swept the floor for weeks
  • All I think about is how to cram more work into fewer hours
  • I got sick for the first time in a year, and still worked 10 hours
  • I haven’t even started to write my talk for Oz-IA and have 9 days to go
  • I haven’t written a decent blog post in ages and I’m sure no-one reads anymore except my close friends

I promise it’s not all bad, though. I have had some achievements:

  • I planted onions and carrots
  • I weeded a completely overgrown garden – it was overgrown not due to me, but because two plovers had laid eggs in it (for my non-Australian friends, plovers swoop and attack when they have eggs)
  • I got my community website up to scratch
  • I planned a usability test one day, ran it the next, had a report finished by midday the following
  • I wrote lots of copy for two important websites that will be released next week
  • I finished judging for the McFarlane prize
  • and lots more…

But I really need to get things back in control. So if you hear me start to say yes to something, print this out, wave it in my face and hold me down until I say no! (unless of course, it is the coolest project ever)

And now it’s time to get back to my book…

8 Responses to “No! No! No! No! No!”

  1. Björn Busch-Geertsema Says:

    Hey Donna,

    I’m still reading, I’m sure many others are, too ;)
    And I’m pretty sure you’ll get through this. Learning to say no is something I’ve heard a lot of people talk. It’s not easy for sure, so good luck to you!

  2. Gary Barber Says:

    Everything you say I can relate to. I was mentally checking off a similar list.

    I don’t know anyone in the web industry at present that isn’t totally stretched. Everyone is at or on the edge of burnout. I really think we all need to start saying NO! More often. I know I’m extremely guilty of not doing this.

    These upcoming conferences of OZIA and WDS I believe are going to be a good break for (if just for a short while) for a lot of people.

    I’m still reading your blog…

    Note to self get Donna a large laminated sign that says NO!

  3. Jessica Gardner Says:

    Hi Donna,

    I started reading your blog a few months ago and plan to keep doing so!

    I completely relate to the problem of taking on too much. Looks like you are on the way to doing something about it and you inspire me to remember to do the same (although you do sound a bit busier than I am!).

    Keep blogging, but don’t beat yourself up about not posting too often. Quality not quantity!

  4. Jorge Arango Says:

    Hi Donna! I can relate to your post. This has helped:

    I printed out a version of this list, and carry it with me in my notebook. It’s useful to review it before going into meetings. Best luck saying NO! :)

  5. Alex Says:

    I guess this is a bad time for a coffee? :)

  6. donna Says:

    Thanks guys – I had a better day today. Got 4 chapters wrapped up and sent to my editor, the structure done for my Oz-IA talk, and some stuff for my community site.

    Gary – good point. It will be quite therapeutic to hang out at conferences for a week, exchanging woes with other busy ppl.

    Jorge – good list. It’s on my wall.

    Alex – I can always find time for coffee with you.

    Bjorn & Jessica – thanks!

  7. Ruth Ellison Says:

    I can relate to your post (although I’m no where near doing the level of work that you amazingly DO all the time).

    Hopefully we can take a break during Oz-IA and WDS for the wine/food gourmet show and maybe squeeze in a Spice I Am meal some where?

  8. Breakdown Says:

    I read this and I laugh! Why? Because it is almost a carbon copy of what i am doing now, although i am lucky in that my wife looks after the floor.

    In front of me i have a 8ft by 4ft white board with about 36 things written on. I am well behind with my own project, but barely on time with my clients.

    They are chilled about it, but I also know they are only chilled because they know me well enough to know I am not chilled and will do anything to complete on time.

    AS for 60 hours, I stoped counting weeks ago, I just go until my heads a shed. Sometimes 18 houts starigh, sometime only 3 before I need a walk to clear my head.

    Working at the computer, is great sometimes, but others, i wish I was back to 9 to 5.


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