5 Questions to Ask Before Saying Yes to a Request for Your Time

Before Saying Yes

Can you help me with something?

It appears to be a simple request. However, before you realize it, you have spent half the day working on something you shouldn’t. You feel guilty bailing, so you end up not getting your own work done.

Before you say yes to that request for your time, make sure you evaluate the situation carefully.

Saying Yes Is Too Easy

When someone asks you to do something, do you always say yes?

It doesn’t matter if it is a friend, colleague, or family member, you need to take a moment to think before you give a yes. (And thus a yes to your time…)

“Saying yes is too easy, even when the correct answer is no.” (Tweet this Quote)

Saying yes is the easy way out. Or so you think, but you’ll end up regretting it later.

Suddenly, you are saddled with extra stress, guilt, and obligations that you shouldn’t have taken on in the first place.

Before You Say Yes to a Request for Your Time, Here are 5 Questions to Ask Yourself:

  1. What are you really getting yourself into? Get the facts on what is actually involved in the request. A simple ask usually isn’t simple. What on the surface appears to be a simple task, may end up being very complex. Get the facts before you agree to take it on.
  2. Is this someone else’s work? Many times we get requests by others to do something that they should be doing. This can be a fine line, especially in a work scenario. Beware the cliché “It’s not my job,” but sometimes the request is someone else’s work. Make sure you do your own first.
  3. How much time will the request realistically take? Make sure to double or triple the amount of time you estimate. What you think may take only a few minutes, could take hours. Make sure you have the time.
  4. What’s on your own plate right now? You want to help others, but you need to make sure you don’t ruin yourself in the process. Take a hard look at what is on your own list before agreeing to extra obligations. Determine if you have bandwidth to take on more or whether you need to take something off your plate to accommodate the new request.
  5. Do you have the time? – This is about being realistic about your own time. We all only have so much of it. Choose wisely, you don’t get more time later.

Sometimes No Is the Right Answer

It can be tempting to always say yes to requests for your time.

You want to be friendly. You want to help others. However, you have to balance those efforts with protecting your own time.

The next time you receive a request for your time, stop and think before you say yes.

Sometimes the correct answer is… no.

Question: What requests are you saying yes to that you shouldn’t? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

10 thoughts on “5 Questions to Ask Before Saying Yes to a Request for Your Time

  1. Great points. Too often we don’t really see what we’re already committed to doing before saying yes to another obligation. A trusted and reliable digital workspace can help identify our projects and the next steps to move those forward. Also, if it’s a serial asker, disarm them by asking for a quid pro quo. They’ll move on to an easier target.

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  3. Just read an post on how it takes about around 2000 words or more to effectively explain a topic, but after reading this it seems that it’s more about how the writer explains. Beautifully written and totally agree with what you have said and i my self find it difficult refuse some one not because it is easier not to do so but because most people my self included, do not want to lose any good will which usually we believe would happen when we say “No”.

  4. Gosh this really hits the mark. I’ve just finished reading Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism and he has some great insight into this subject too. Although hard I do think that saying no will in the end bring respect from others although at first people may not be too happy.

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