I was working with a client who was lamenting that he would have more time if everyone else didn’t throw things in his lap. When he told me some of the things I could see why he was so frustrated. For example one of his peers sent him an email at 6:00 P.M. asking him to train someone on a process she needed to learn in order to produce something with a deadline of 10:00 A.M. the next morning. I could certainly see how that could be frustrating. I asked if this individual does this often? Answer… YES.

So, why do people do things like this to us? Well, because they can! And they can because we have let them. It’s hard to say NO, if in fact you are a team player and a people pleaser. But saying NO is essential to YOUR own sanity! And saying NO doesn’t have to alienate the person asking, provided it is done with kindness and consideration to the team. 

Here are 3 possibilities to try the next time your time gets HIJACKED!

1. Say, "I would love to help you out… I would have time a week from Thursday, can it wait until then?"

2. When you need to concentrate on something… simply close your door. That is a sure fire way of communicating that you are not available for interruptions.

3. Make it clear to others that if you do not respond to their emails that it DOES NOT mean that you have said YES. Make it your policy that when you agree you ALWAYS send an email stating so.

Try these and you may find that you can gain control of your time. And when you do… use it wisely!