Learn to just say no

Tonight I opened Google Reader for the first time in over a month. I hoped that the feed reader had not exploded with the over 100 feeds I subscribe to. The sight of the 1000+ articles sitting there awaiting my perusal inspired me to do something that I don’t do often enough: say no. I have now dumped half of these feeds. It simply was too overwhelming and frankly ridiculous of me to think that I could consume that much information on a daily basis. It is an ongoing negative habit of mine: take on more and more responsibility until I drive myself crazy.

I miss reading and talking about public health now that my brain is constantly occupied with nonprofit management and education due to AmeriCorps. I love what I do everyday but I know that the issues that I really want to explore are in public health and not education. I did not realize how difficult it would be to devote myself to both disciplines this year.

After reading on change.org about the amazing strides that Frontline: SMS has made in advancing mobile health in Malawi, I knew that I wanted to jump back in. Reading and writing about public health will bring back some of the excitement I felt about going to grad school. I have gotten in to Emory and Johns Hopkins so I definitely need to step up my game so that I will be ready next fall.


6 comments so far

  1. Mike on

    Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

    Making Money $150 An Hour

  2. Lorraine on

    Have you ever thought about joining the PeaceCorps? I was at a non-profit leadership conference Friday. They had a table set up there and I thought of you.

  3. Aman on

    Learning to say no, learning to pick and choose spots is highly valuable to one’s productivity and more importantly sanity! Grad schools is sometimes like a fire hose with mostly really great stuff, but developing the ability to say no occasionally will serve you well. Good luck deciding on schools!

  4. Andre Blackman on

    Hey there Vanessa,

    I know exactly what you mean about saying no – I just put up a Spread the Word Sunday where I was highlighting National Sleep Awareness Week. This always on, constant RSS feed world we live in has it’s drawbacks and it preys upon those who cannot shut it off!

    I’ve also become a fan of the Frontline stuff! I got to meet Josh Nesbit in NYC last weekend for the Mobile Tech for Social Change barcamp and he is heavily involved in that development. Great guy and also featured on Change.org (under the Social Entrepreneurship section). I have definitely gotten my flame for public health and technology back and going full force!

  5. Vanessa on

    @Mike Thanks for the compliment!

    @Lorraine I have thought about the Peace Corps and spoken with some returned Peace Corps volunteers. Just haven’t decided if I want to apply yet.

    @Aman Thanks, I know that I will need to better understand my limitations before starting grad school. Good thing I still have some time before that happens.

    @Andre I am completely guilty of late night working. I do my best thinking then which of course messes with my ability to have a full night’s sleep.

    I’m jealous that you got to meet Josh. Frontline seems as though they have some truly amazing successes ahead. I am just trying to play catch up with all of the amazing innovations and social ventures out there. Happy reading!

  6. Lorraine on

    For the record I think you would kick ass in the PeaceCorps.

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