Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

Expectation vs Commitment


Don’t confuse other people expectations with commitment, because you won’t have time to fulfil both. Be clear about what you are committed to.

Of course, you have to handle other people expectations, but make the distinction between both and accept not doing what you have not committed to do. That way, you can focus on what you are committed to.

The horizons of commitment help a lot making those commitments clear.

There are two kinds of expectations:

  1. what you said you would do
  2. what you did not say you would do

I believe (so does the gtd?) that, in order to be appropriately engaged, you have to:

  1. either precise that you don’t engage in whatever people have expectations,
  2. or indicate that you are willing to engage in whatever people have expectations,

Only then, I think you are appropriately engaged. Then, if people still have expectations that are not in your commitments, I think you can feel good about not doing it. It is something that the people with the expectation have to deal with themselves. (see feel confident not doing what you are not doing).

Example: consider one person asking you to commit to come to a meeting in the following situation

  1. it is a few meters from here in a few minutes and you don’t have anything else to do -> chances are you will gladly commit,
  2. it is a few thousands of kilometers from here in a few minutes -> chances are you won’t commit and warn your host,
  3. you don’t know where it is or when -> chances are you won’t commit,

Then, apply the same logic to more complex commitments. Don’t commit by default, but have an intuitive judgement call.

Notes linking here