It is good to be helpful but there should be a line drawn. If you can’t say no, you will find yourself loaded with tons of requests from people asking you do to their work or help them with something.
This problem is often faced with CEOS of start-ups or if you are someone with multiple skill sets. People approach you for help due to your vast expertise. Sometimes, saying yes to everything can take a toll on your personal work as well as mental health, due to excessive workload, said INC.
Former American President Dwight D. Eisenhower's principle which gives us a useful framework to determine what should get our attention, is now gaining popularity.
- Focus on what is urgent and requires your immediate attention. (Example, a glitch in the website costing revenue)
- Next, set aside time for what is important but not that urgent. (Example, planning or writing team strategy)
- Third, don’t waste time on useless and fruitless tasks (Example, responding to an ungrateful email)
These principles are useful for most of the situations, but not 100 per cent reliable. Sometimes, strategies have to be tweaked to suit the needs. When someone comes asking for help, they will always deem that their request is urgent. They don’t take into account that what you are doing is important as well.
One must not stop what one is doing to give the other person priority. This will not only cut down the focus on your work, but also make the others take you for granted. So how do you protect your time without insulting your team? The five supposedly magic words- "That's not urgent to me."
You can acknowledge others’ requests as important but also keep tasks from piling up in your ‘urgent to –do list’ by simply saying, "That's not urgent to me." These words don’t have to said explicity but just get comfortable with the words in your head first. It can help you weed out what is unnecessary in your urgent list.
Also Read : A simple 'NO' can set you free
You can respect the other person’s sense of urgency by acknowledging to them that their request is important and asking for a deadline at a later time. This way, they feel validated and you can give it time later after prioritising your own work. But make sure to meet that deadline.
Remember to put yourself too on your priority list at times; don’t spend most of your time catering to other’s needs and requests.