The Forgotten Tool of Time Management

Not doing it has wrecked my day more times than I can count. Not doing It almost derailed the last planned trip with my wife. You have a coworker just wishing you would do this with them as well. What is it  you ask? Why that's it, actually. ASKing for help. It's one of those forgotten tools of time management we should be using when there is more to get done than we can physically do.

We make so many excuses for not asking others to help with an assignment at work, a crisis at home, or just with something that seems overwhelming at the moment. We reason that the other person is just too busy with their own stuff to have time for us. The reality is that most of us get a true sense of accomplishment when we are able to provide assistance to someone else. It makes us feel more valuable and fulfills our sense of purpose. In short, it brings us joy to be able to serve someone else.

When we don't ask for help, we deny others this chance to enhance their well-being and more clearly recognize their value as a friend, family member, or co worker. Here are some things you should be asking of others-when you have an established relationship built on trust and mutual benefit to one another:

  • Ask a friend to take care of your children while you and your significant other spend some much needed quality time together.
  • Ask a coworker to review your plans for a work assignment to see if your approach sounds effective-and efficient. They may see something you have overlooked.
  • Ask your supervisor for a little more time than you expect an assignment to take, so you have a buffer in case something goes wrong.
  • Ask someone (and pay them) to take care of any home repairs, auto maintenance, lawn work, or anything else that is consuming time you really would like to be spending with friends, family, or just for your personal renewal.
  • Ask for help when you are feeling overwhelmed. A coworker might be able to take some of the load, and you can plan for how you can reciprocate when they have a similar situation in the future.
  • Ask for a day of the week, or at least a part of a day when you can be exempt from meetings so you can focus on an important task or assignment.

This list is just a start. The key is to be willing to at least ask the question. You may get a "No," but you might also get a "Yes." I am finding that, more often than not, people are quick to help with your dilemma ASAP... especially if it gives them a quick break from their own juggling elephants routine.