The informed “Yes!” Or, how to not automatically say yes to everything (a skill I’m still learning)

One thing I love about working with Support Driven is executing on ideas: developing processes, setting deadlines, documenting as much as I can along the way, and getting cool things done for the community.

An equally exciting, and much more difficult part of the job is sorting through the bajillions of great ideas we want to run with for the community — and figuring out which ones we can execute on, and when.

When I’m excited about an idea, it’s easy to say “YES! Let’s do it!” and then start running with it. This becomes problematic when that Yes comes without fully thinking through what the Yes means — the what (the end product), the why (the value), the how (the process), the when (a reasonable time frame), and perhaps most importantly, the who (and how we will support them).

It’s easy to say yes: saying yes takes little time or effort. Executing on a yes is not quite as simple — execution takes thinking, planning, someone’s time, and exertion.

After recently almost saying Yes! to a few things, Scott wisely advised that we step back and take a look at what’s on our plates first — not necessarily because those yesses need to be nos, but to determine the when of the yesses. To get a better feel for what is on my plate, I needed a way to visualize our biggest upcoming efforts: Support Driven conferences. I made this rough timeline to sketch out what we’re thinking of and to help me see when I will be busiest:

SD Timelines .002
Sketch timeline of potential Support Driven conferences

When we looked at this in our call today, we realized some of the things we were thinking about taking on might not work at the times we originally considered: if we were thinking about hiring part-time folks for various projects, would we have bandwidth to truly set them up for success? To onboard and support them? Scott mentioned it’d be great to see a full picture of what’s on our plates, not just the conferences, so I sketched out a new timeline that’s more comprehensive.

SD Timelines.003
A more comprehensive sketch of SD project timelines


After my initial feeling of omgthatsalot, and “I shouldn’t have taken on the book club!”, having this graphic was actually comforting. The work isn’t as nebulous now. I know not everything is on the timeline, but a lot of the big commitments are, and now I can see them all in one place. I can see when to expect things to happen in relationship to each other, and now we can make informed decisions about when to slot things in, especially the things that have question marks.

As a bonus of these timelines, it’s exciting to see so much of what’s going on in Support Driven all in one place like this. And even though my book club Yes! was uninformed by these graphics, I’m pretty sure I can still fit it in just fine :D.

One thought on “The informed “Yes!” Or, how to not automatically say yes to everything (a skill I’m still learning)

  1. Awesome post! I really like the sketch you’ve made. And, we shouldn’t say “Yes” to everything all the time. Making a graphical visual sketch like you did, is really good to see what’s already in the plate and stick to it and complete that in the first place. Thanks!


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