Too often we assume a request from a colleague, or task allocated by our boss must be actioned immediately, without question.

We drop whatever we were working on and get started on the new request straight away.

This reactive, rather than responsive approach is a sure-fire path to stress and overwhelm.

Our to-do list grows, our distraction levels are high, and our days are filled with ‘busy work’.

Sure, some requests from others do need to be actioned immediately but are you falling into the trap of assuming urgency?

One way to test this is to respond to a request with a proposed timeframe for delivery that works for you.

You might say, “Yes, I can get that task done for you by COB Monday. Does that work?”

Then, if the other person needs the task completed sooner, you can have a conversation and try to find a solution that works for both of you.

When we stop making assumptions and start making suggestions, or at the very least asking questions, it’s amazing how non-urgent many of our assumed urgent tasks are.

Have you tried this approach before? Has assertively responding to requests rather than passively reacting given you space to breathe? Let me know in the comments below.

#communication #assertive #timemanagement


Leah Mether helps people get out of their own way with the development of soft skills (which are really hard). She is a speaker, trainer, facilitator and mentor.