Balancing "Yes" activities

Daniel Jalkut on saying "yes":

When someone asks me to speak at a conference, write an article, give a toast at a wedding, attend a conference, or just to have lunch, my gut reaction is to refuse.

Almost every public thing I do that pulls me away from my computer and out of my house, comes from saying yes when I want to say no. I psyche myself up, remember that this life isn’t going to drive itself where I want it to go, and step up to the plate.

Saying "yes" has been a recent theme for me too, though maybe in a different way. A couple of months ago I had a flurry of social engagements. It was an atypical time for me because generally I don't get out that often. At the time I thought it would be good when things quieted down because I would finally have time to get things done. But looking back, I see I got quite a bit done during that time. And when things did quiet down I gradually got more inert and inactive, and less got done than when I was running around and squeezing work and errands between social outings.

I still believe I am an introvert and time alone to refuel — blessed solitude — is absolutely crucial for my mental health. Being left alone is also a professional necessity: as a programmer, I need long, quiet blocks of time to feel productive and satisfied. But I also need "yes" activities to bounce me around sometimes. Otherwise, like a pinball that never hits any bumpers, I tend to roll down the drain. So I'll try to look for more of those opportunities, and accept more of them when they come my way. I'll also try to recognize which kinds of events tend to energize me rather than drain me.

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