Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That: Letting Go & Saying No

The Art of Letting Go and Prioritizing

Right now, I have three to-do lists and two calendars for work, two calendars for home and the kids, and countless little notes, ideas and journals. Not to mention the ideas that pop in my head: I want to do that, remember this, try that, go here, call this person or attend that webinar.

When does it stop? I hardly have time for myself.  How many of you have said that to yourself lately?

Recently, I spent a few hours one afternoon in my office with markers, a highlighter and lots of paper. I began organizing everything that I do into “buckets.” Each piece of paper was titled at the top with a job function: social media, recruitment, employer branding, vendor management, etc. Under each category title, I listed all of the related tasks and to-do items.

Then, I ranked each task: A, B or C.

A = absolutely, I have to do this. B = best to probably do it. C = crap I can probably cut. (This ranking system is in a business text somewhere, I am sure of it.)


After strategically ranking my lists, I went through them with a big yellow highlighter and circled responsibilities that I could possibly delegate to a stellar new person on my team. If you have not something similar to this exercise, I would strongly encourage you to take the time to do it.

As a full-time working mom of two little ones, it was borderline therapeutic. And, you might just surprise yourself by how much you really do!

Learning to let go of things that I have done for years does notcome naturally to me … it’s something that I am working on. At home, it’s the same way … but at some point, something has to give. There’s a great song that my daughter likes called “Busy” by the Not-Its which says, “we’re too busy … we need to just slow down.” And, I agree.

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful call with a bright, driven GenY CEO and she mentioned she has FOMO, the fear of missing out. While I don’t know if that is the clinical term, I got exactly what she was saying. And, I feel the same way.

I want to be a part of meetings, participate in daily Twitter chats, attend conferences and vendor demos, and read all the latest blogs on social media. I’d also like to write a book, watch non-DVRed shows, train for a marathon and find time to fold the laundry.


When there are a hundred things thrown at you from all directions, it can be overwhelming. Oh, you just need to prioritize someone might say. Well, OK, but what if everything is important? I would say that some things probably don’t need to be done ever, some less often and, as hard as it may be, sometimes we just need to say, “No, while I’d like to do [fill in the blank], I won’t be able to commit to it.”


This is all still new to me and I’m a work in progress. I’d love to hear your tips for prioritizing, letting go, delegating and/or saying no.

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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