But, if we do one ‘thirty minute favour’ a day, we lose more than the equivalent of three productive weeks a year. (Assuming 48 working weeks per year, and a 40-hour week.) Would you give up three weeks of annual leave to help others out? I suspect that your answer is a resounding, ‘Maybe!’.
So what would tip the balance in this decision? The difference between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ is almost certainly how well the request aligns with your priorities and passions. If the activity is a good fit, you’ll be inclined towards a positive response. But I suspect that you would want some time to think about it and clarify what was involved.
I’m not suggesting that we automatically say ‘no!’ to all requests for favours (or work assignments etc). What I am advocating is slowing down to take the time to see how the request fits with your priorities, deadlines, passions and general disposition.
A simple ‘Let me think about that’ creates the space for you to do the thinking, it also lets the requester know that you will give it consideration, but it also paves the way for a subsequent, reason-based ‘No!’.
I have personally witnessed this approach for more than 25 years now, and I can assure you that it is effective.