Part III of my “Ease the Overwhelm” Series is about getting help from the people you know.
I’ve covered how to stop adding to your plate and I’ve waxed poetic about what is motivating you to keep things on your plate.
Now it’s time to get help with those things that we feel are necessary, but we may not get very excited about (like approving time cards or doing laundry).
Two things come to mind:
Ask nicely, and
Lead off with the WHY or at least your intention – and be honest
Whether you are asking your spouse to unload the dishwasher, your employee to handle a minor crisis, or your kids to put their dirty clothes in the hamper, it all about HOW you do it.
I can’t tell you all the times I hear “It wasn’t WHAT he said, it was HOW he said it!”
The vast majority of communication between humans is in the tone of voice and body language, NOT the words.
So don’t waste the brain cells trying to come up with the perfect way to phrase “Get off your duff and get that darn report done!”
Work on the emotion behind the statement so you can better control your tone of voice and body language.
“Hey, John, what’s the status of that report? Hmm, only halfway done, huh? What is the hang-up? What can I do to help clear the path to get it done by Friday?”
Asking nicely can make all the difference.
This is especially true when asking spouses, kids and family. It’s so easy to take those relationships for granted and let slip the social niceties that bind us together.
We forget to say “please” and “thank you” far more often to those close to us than to our co-workers.
“Susie, can you please pick up all the toys you left in the family room?” in a pleasant tone of voice is more likely to yield positive results than a shouted “Get in there and clean up your mess!”
Both may get the desired result, but only the polite first option will yield long-term gains for the relationship.
Now add the telling people WHY piece of it.
“Reports only halfway done, huh? That report is the justification for our budget next year and the budget meetings are next week. It’s critical that we have it done, so what can I do to help clear the path?”
and I’m not making this up. I have literally used these words on my then 17 year old son.
“My ultimate goal is to make you into a contributing member of society. Adults take care of themselves. Learning how to do your own laundry is a non-negotiable life skill that I feel compelled to instill in you. Please, for the love of God, do your laundry! One day you might convince a nice girl to marry you, but girls don’t want to marry slobs that don’t even know how to do laundry.”
I was pretty upfront about my intention and he could see beyond the nagging to a bigger picture.
So the questions of the week are:
What tasks do you feel are necessary but that you could use some help with?
Who do you know that you can get help from?
How can you ask for help in a way that is both polite and gives them the bigger picture?