Photo by Kevin Grieve
Are you constantly getting asked to do things for people?
Rather than accepting or rejecting the mission immediately, my tip would be to take a little time to think it over. If they are after an immediate answer, tell them you will get back to them in 5 minutes. Then run through these three things:
1) Do I have TIME for it?
2) Do I feel OK about doing it?
3) Will it be EASY for me to carry out?
Time. OK. Easy. As an acronym they make the word TOE!
Toe image by Francesco Ungaro.
If you can tick each of those things, then you will be happy to say yes because it feels right and easy. However if one of those questions gets a no, then it's not necessary to do the task and you can explain that this occasion you're unable to oblige. Even if it's your boss or someone you want to make the effort for who's asking, you still need to consider Points 1 and 2. When it comes to Point 3 it's time to weigh up whether your effort in doing something that isn't easy will be appreciated and valued. Perhaps it will further your career or deepen your friendship. If you have to apply yourself and focus you might learn something and benefit from having done it.
Saying no to favours isn't always comfortable at first but you owe it to yourself - this is just one part of making your life simpler and more enjoyable. Draw on your latent assertiveness and give them a firm but diplomatic explanation, because actually you're doing them a favour by being honest. Neither of you would want any awkwardness or bad feeling in the long run and if the relationship is good, the person who has requested a favour will know that if you could easily have done it, you would. You're actually investing in good, respectful friendships and working / family relationships if you set the right boundaries. In turn, the people around you should know that they aren't always obliged to carry out favours for you either.
If you ask someone whether they need any help then of course it's reasonable of them to say yes and give you instructions of what you can do for them. If you haven't offered and something has been put upon you... check in with your gut feeling. What happens next is up to you.
Love Sal x