My eldest had her third birthday this weekend. We had a very fun, present-filled celebration with family and even FaceTimed with those that couldn’t be there. It was a truly merry time. One of the things that I learning as a father is to enjoy those little moments as they fly by and are so easy to miss. But perhaps the hardest thing I’m having to learn as my children get older is that there are a myriad of really great opportunities out there for kids, parents and families.

Options, Options, Options

Companies, organizations, and local governments are all learning that providing programs and events geared towards families actually brings both families and singles to their community. So we have options. Festivals, parties, Christmas light shows, and so much more.

Working from home this year I’ve made a priority of getting myself and my family out of the house to do things together. With this plethora of options available it’s been hard to not overcommit or simply be overwhelmed and do nothing. But neither of those is the right thing.

You see, my kids love to go do these events. They love meeting people, going places and doing anything fun. My wife loves taking them places. So do I. But going to as many as possible would stretch us too far both financially and physically. We focus on keeping our schedule free and clear most nights in order to facilitate rest and family growth. We don’t look down on those who fill their nights with activities, we have just chosen not to and it is what works for our family. But we also have decided to not just sit at home every night and be hermits. Children (and adults) learn so much from interacting with others their age and older. It’s important for growth and intellectual stimulation.

But recently, we’ve been asking not only just which activities we should attend, but why. We have all these options to choose from. But should we choose any of them? Is it wise? What does it gain? Would it be better to wait for another weekend to do something? It has helped us not race towards nowhere simply because we want to see forward motion.

Asking Should I At Work

The programming world can be like this at times. Just last week I was looking through my normal reading list and realized how many resources, guides, learning opportunities and white papers were available. The amount of information available on various subjects is vast. Unfathomable. My desire for learning begs me to dive in and not come up until I’ve consumed it all. But is that really the most helpful thing? Should I?

The same goes for decisions we make at work. We can take on that fifth client. It would mean a record year in terms of profit. But should we? What stress will it place on our people? Are they reputable? Even if they are a dream client, the answer might not be yes.

When you ask “should I?” you are asking what the ramifications are. Not just for you, but for others. You have to consider the mental, physical, financial, social, and lots of other areas that could be affected. It causes you to pause. To consider. In that moment of pause, I have found that the pause itself causes the best answer to present itself that perhaps wasn’t visible before.

So next time you are presented with a mountain of data, material, or a multitude of decisions, instead of choosing an option, simply ask, “should I?”