It’s funny how often I find a new way of thinking/feeling/acting and it works just as well at work as it does at home...
And in this case it was funny (and not a little surprising) to see how when I stopped saying yes to everything, and dropping everything the second someone asked me a question...nothing changed (apart from my stress levels and productivity).
And it was all down to those 3 little words…
...“Give me five”
(You thought this was going somewhere else, didn’t you?)
Ok, so you need to say yes at work. Saying 'no' or 'i haven't got time' doesn't work in the real world. Especially with your boss. You’ll get the 'difficult' label, people will think you're not coping, who needs 8 hours sleep a night anyway??
HOWEVER, did you know that ‘Yes, what do you need, by when?’ is perfectly acceptable?
If the answer is ‘5 minutes in my office, now’ then you should probably go (and maybe bring your coat) but it's rarely that urgent.
It shows you’re willing, but busy and focussed and in charge of your time.
It puts you in control, doesn’t disrupt what you’re in the middle of doing and lets you focus on their task at a better time.
Try it with your team too. It makes you more approachable (as they’ll be less wary about interrupting you) and helps lead by example. Often time management is a real issue for people, particularly when you're starting out and working into different managers. The lesson that you can still be engaged and uber-enthusiatic without having to do everything the moment someone asks you is invaluable. To control your own workload and not just react to whoever shouts loudest. It shows good time management, reliability and maturity if you can manage everyone's expectations - plus your stress levels will take a nose dive.
So, maybe it’s 4 words actually...
“Hey Kate, have you got a sec?”
“Absolutely, give me 5?”