We have been creating our list of non-negotiables together and today we are going to finalize that list. Quick refresher, what is a non-negotiable list? It’s a list of activities, actions, and routines that we have prioritized to ensure we are consciously making decisions on how we spend our time. No longer will we allow other people’s urgency to blindly dictate how we spend our time. At this point, you have added family time and self-care to the list. Today let’s tackle our work non-negotiables or what I call career boundaries.
Another word for non-negotiables could be boundaries, right? What are your work or career boundaries? Many times we take on extra projects, new roles, new team members, etc. and we do so blindly because again, we feel this obligation to say yes at all costs. But have we thought about what we truly want? Have we asked ourselves if this will serve us in our careers?
What if you are being pushed to take on a people leadership role, yet you hate people leadership? What if you are being pushed by your business partner to create a new product line but it’s a line you just don’t believe in. How do you handle that?
Let’s create some work boundaries or non-negotiables, shall we?
I want you to define where you want your career or company to go in the next 3 years. Now look, you can tweak and adjust this anytime you choose so don’t feel like you are locking this in for life. What you must do is create your vision. Once you have that vision, you know what to say yes to at work and what you must say no to. For example, let’s say you want to climb the ladder as a leader of project management or within a technical team, then most likely you want to increase the complexity of the work you are taking on but you do not want to tackle any people leadership responsibilities. So when someone comes knocking, you can be clear about what you want vs. don’t want. The same holds true for the expansion of your company if you own a business. Does it mean you can’t change your mind? No, but it does mean you are intentional about what you say yes to and what you say no to for the next 6 – 12 months.
Remember, this is what a non-negotiable list is. A list that anchors you to your current priorities so that you can make decisions with those priorities guiding you, not letting the outside world or corporate authority guide you. The list can and should change as your life changes and as you grow.
Now complete the last step in the non-negotiable list building process. Create your boundaries at work. What will you take on? What will you say no to? What will you work extra to accomplish and what will you not work extra for because you don’t have a passion for it or because it isn’t on your success path? Define it now. Once these pieces are added, you have a solid non-negotiable list to help guide you for at least the next 6 months.
So what’s next? Test it out. Add items. Take off items. Your list is always a work in progress, but the point of creating the list is to help you be intentional about how you spend your most valuable asset, your time.