hair on fire

No, this isn’t a plug for the DARE program. OPE stands for Other People’s Emergencies. And it’s time we talk about saying “no” to them.
A couple months ago, I was hit with a deluge of emails asking–and in one case demanding–I take immediate action on something, or else there would be dire consequences.
My initial reaction was that I had to hop-to and do the things. But why? The “dire consequences” varied in their effect on me, personally, and the organization I run as a whole. Plus, these emergencies weren’t created by me. Why is it my responsibility to put out the fire in your hair? What’s more, I’m a busy person and no one should expect me to do something immediately, especially when their request comes in via email (more on that in a future post).
As Bob Carter (according to Goodreads) said,

“Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.”

And it is SO TRUE.
Look. I get it. We’re all busy, and sometimes, we get to things when we get to them; and sometimes, that’s at the last minute. But really, if you need someone else for it, for goodness sake, give them some notice. Otherwise, the answer is no.
Here’s another quote for you (not sure who said it first–maybe Sean Covey or Dan Millman):

“When you say yes to something, you say no to something else.”

Saying yes to an OPE means saying no to the thing I had planned to do instead. And that thing is most likely more important to me than the OPE. Saying yes to an OPE is also sending a message to others–and myself–that I will allow my time to be hijacked.
I want to be the kind of person who spends her time in ways that reflect what her priorities are. I think it will lead to more satisfaction with work and life and being more productive in general. In order to do that, I have to say “nope” to OPE.
Plus, burning hair smells really bad.

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