Don’t choose what you don’t want to do

I am still working on the backlog of Back to Work, a relatively new podcast with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin, which is supposedly about getting back to working your butt off in a way that’s healthy but turns out to be soul-inspiring at the same time.
In #13 Merlin said that hardest thing adults have to to is choosing what not to do in a day. And while that’s catchy and makes sense when you are looking at it from a getting things done and productivity level I disagree. I disagree in a way because it oversimplifies the level of involvement, it doesn’t really fit in the context he used it in either. The detail is important her: You can travel the ocean pretty aimlessly by saying no to certain things, but the key is to know what you want and to make decisions.
Merlin said no only because he figured out what his priorities are and after that he was able to say no to things that didn’t fit.

Deciding what not to do in a day is a right step only if you ultimately know where you are going.