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What’s the best response to give when someone asks for your time?

Remember that when you are communicating to other people about your time you are basically training them in how to treat you. We all have natural habits in how we respond to requests for our time. Let’s look at ways in which you can increase your choices of response to requests for your time adapted from our new book Time Management; Banish Time Management Forever.

time managementSaying Yes, Saying No and Saying nothing.

If you are a yes person, you are saying to other people that you are always available and they will expect you to be so. Your intention may be to be helpful, accommodating and friendly.

The unhelpful effect of behaving in this way as a pattern is that you may find that other people don’t respect your time or take up too much of it. If you say yes they will keep on asking and expect you to say yes. If this is your pattern it can lead to you to feel that you are only there for others and afraid to change your response for fear of offending.

If you are an ‘I’m too busy’ or no person, you are basically pushing other people away and they will eventually stop asking you, even for things you might want to do. Your intention may be to be clear, avoid being dumped on and to be in control of your own time.

If this is your pattern, over time you might stop being invited to things you would have like to go to and people you care about may drop out of your life because you’ve unintentionally told them they are not important enough for you.  In your career you may be seen as unapproachable, inflexible or even inefficient and genuinely too busy to be given more responsibility. If that is your intention then great, if not it could have an unintended impact on your relationships and your career.

If you are generally vague in your responses to people’s requests for your time, you are training people not to count on you and not to rely on you. Your intention may be to be flexible, be available to help without being tied down and you may even be unsure yourself.

If this is your pattern, it may lead to mistrust in important relationships and in a work situation the good roles will go elsewhere because your boss may not feel, at an unconscious level, that you can be relied upon or are pro-active enough for the role.  You might be trying to buy yourself some thinking time but you are communicating an unreliable pattern to others.

Which one are you? 

Having learned which pattern is yours can you begin to appreciate the unintended and unhelpful impact of your pattern?

As a general rule it helps to tweak your responses rather than suddenly saying ‘no’ when you usually say ‘yes’. Drastic changes in your communication can impact your relationships as other people see you in a certain way. Instead our top tip is:

If you are a ‘yes’ person, say ‘maybe’ a bit more which will give you time to consider whether you really want to do this or whether there are any consequences you haven’t thought of yet that you need to consider

If you are a ‘no’ person, say ‘maybe’ a bit more to give you a chance to consider whether this could be something you want to do or might lead to something you want to do.

If you are a ‘maybe’ person, give people a time by which you will go back to them with a firm response and stick to it. This is really important to avoid you losing credibility or being viewed as flaky or unreliable.

Time mastery book coverKaren Meager is the Co Author of Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever and the highly acclaimed Real Leaders for the Real World. She is a UKCP accredited Psychotherapist and NLP Master Trainer.

Time Management; Banish Time Management Forever is now available in paperback and e book format from Amazon, Bookshops and directly from our Webstore.

Read last weeks blog on how to banish time management forever here.

Read Karen’s latest Press articles here.

Karen Meager

Founder of Monkey Puzzle and an INLPTA NLP Master Trainer, Karen is also a UKCP registered Psychotherapist and author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World. Her new book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever is out now.

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