Commitment and committing to 500 words a day

Published Sun, Sep 1, 2013 by Austin Govella. Updated Sun, Sep 1, 2013.

All our lives, we’re told the barrier to keeping our commitments is not knowing when to say no. That’s only half of the story. Commitment is also about knowing when to stop.

My curiosity and ego are strength as well as weaknesses. I grew up believing I could figure anything out, and with my curiosity, anything is interesting enough to figure out.

I’m curious in more things than I have time to explore.

We’re going through annual reviews at Avanade right now. Familiar comments pop up in my feedback: be on time; deliver on time. The quality of my work is good, I work well with my teammates, and I have good relationships with my clients. The problem isn’t the quality of my work as much as it is the quality of my commitments.

For September, I heeded the principal instigator’s call to write 500 words a day. I sat down to write this evening, and there I was cruising past 500. And then I stopped.

It’s not that I didn’t have more to say. But the commitment was to write 500 words a day. I may have more, but I committed to 500. 500 is enough to deliver, and if I keep writing (like I am now, ironically), then I won’t have as much time for another commitment at home or at work or personally.

Commitment is about knowing when to say, “no”. Commitment is also about knowing when to stop.

So, I’m stopping now. Going to do a couple of edits, hit publish on the first 500 words, and then spend some time with my loved ones. Tomorrow, when I’ve committed to another 500 words, I can write some more.