Someone has just stopped by your desk to ask if you will XY or Z for them. Or a friend calls in a bind and asks if you can help. And – without stopping to think about it, because you like to be helpful and possibly because you are Canadian! – you say, “yes, of course”! Uh oh. You may have just made a mistake. Without asking a few more questions (what is the project/commitment, what your commitment will be and how much of your time will be required, etc.), you could find yourself in a time-sucking quagmire. The devil, as they say, is in the details.
My sister has two teenage children (God bless her). She NEVER says yes right off the bat when they ask her for something. Ever. And why would you? It can go so terribly wrong so terribly quickly when it comes to teenagers. It becomes a game of Twenty Questions before anyone gets anywhere near to a yes. And mostly it’s a maybe – l’m going to think about it. That way nobody gets hurt, at least not right off the bat!
shadow family
So make like your favourite parent (or put on your own parenting hat) the next time someone asks you for a favour. Ask a lot of questions and get some concrete details before you decide to commit. Be brave – tell them you need to think about it overnight, or even just a simple “no, I’m sorry – I can’t commit right now”.
Part of being productive and having more time is getting your own stuff done – so make sure you are taking care of your own priorities first. And then – only then – if you have time and you would like to be helpful, say “yes”!
Darcy Roberts is a business and life coach in Oakville, Ontario helping busy people get stuff done – at work, at home, and everywhere in between. Call 416.219.6694 or email to learn more.