Monday, July 01, 2019

A "Do I Need To?" Checklist

A typical day may feature any number of requests that others make of you.

Some of these are inevitable, even essential. Think parents meeting basic needs for their children, or fulfilling the requirements of your job description at work.

But then there come other times when someone asks for our time, energy, or resources, and it may be less clear whether it's truly up to us to provide them. Some of these times, the question isn't explicitly asked, but you pick up on the fact that if you don't do something, nobody else will.

These times are grey areas. They cause us to question how firm our boundaries are, and whether each individual instance is worth making them a little more permeable. Or they simply cause us to examine what our boundaries are to begin with.

Unfortunately, there's no exact user's manual for such moments. But we can ask the sorts of questions that may lead us to a better answer and making more responsible and healthy and self-loving decisions.

The first thing is realizing that we even have permission to ask whether something is really up to us. Not everything is our responsibility. Some needs are better met by other people.

So when a task arises and we find ourselves asking, "do I need to do this?" (emphasis on I), it may benefit us to ask questions like these:

  • Is it in my job description?
  • Did somebody actually ask me to?
  • Is someone expecting or depending upon me to do it?
  • Do I have the skills to do it?
  • Does someone else need to take responsibility for it?
  • Would someone else be taking advantage of me if I did it?
  • Am I just doing it to be liked?
  • Am I just doing it to feel less anxious?
  • If I do it this time, will I be expected to do it again, or in perpetuity?
  • Would this help someone I love?

What tasks this week--today, even--might be inviting you to ask, "Do I need to do this?"

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