Yesterday, I shared Rule #1 of How To Say No With Ease and how those experts in “pester power” can suck up all your time.

In case you didn’t get a chance to read it yet,

Rule #1 is to Know The Value of Your Yes.


Today, I’d like to share:

Rule #2: Size of Ask x Time = # of Yes(es) possible…

Remember it’s not that asking for help is a “bad” thing. It’s a good thing. But sometimes, too much of a good thing turns into a bag thing… Yes, some people need help — that’s different and not part of this equation. Some people ask and ask and ask for help even when they don’t need it and, rarely if ever, consider reciprocity.

I use a “Yes/No budget” when there is a lack of reciprocity. Without reciprocity, relationships can get stressed. One-way relationships rarely work for long.

If you answered, “Yes,” that you know at least one person fueled by “pester power,” it’s time to do the “math” to help you budget your life/time/money/relationships/fill-in-the-blank(s) and bring yourself back into balance.

Okay, let’s jump into the deep end.
How to Determine a “Yes/No” Ratio
First, begin by adding your standing “Yeses” you want to do and or have already agreed to on the calendar. This will show you your available time (or spare time, if you prefer.)

A “Yes/No” budget has three criteria.

Size of Ask: How big is this ask? Do they have other open asks? Experts in “pester power” have “center-of-the-universe’itis,” and they think they are perfectly reasonable in asking you for “just a little favor.” All the while conveniently forgetting just hours ago, they asked for “just one tiny favor” or more.

Time to Complete: How long will it take to complete this ask? Remember, we all have 24/7, and yes, you have to eat, sleep, shower, and meet those standing commitments on your calendar.

Double your time estimate before considering yes or no. Be honest, have you ever completed an “it will just take a minute” in a minute? I haven’t.

Who is Asking: I introduced these criteria in “Value Your “Yes” by Mastering “No.” Use this rule for determining the “Who.” Your “Yes” is for those people, places, and things that are important enough to you that you want to share your most limited resource with them — your time!

For those that like visual aids, we can break it down to this:

  • Size of ask(s)
  • Time to complete² (that’s squared)
  • ÷ Into the time you have available
  • Will determine the number of Yes(es) possible
  • ± Who (In order of importance, yourself, spouse, children, family, friends, etc.)
  • = Yes or No

Other “Yes/No” budget items to consider:
• It’s just not the size of this ask. It’s the size of this ask multiplied by previous asks. Have they used up their “coupons?”
•  What would you be giving up to complete this favor?
• Why you? Can they do it themselves? Why not? Would someone else be a better choice?
• Is the professional pesterer playing the bully, guilt, shame, blame, etc., card?
• Other personal considerations? All are valid.

We all have experts in “Pester-Power” in our life that can suck up all our time, money, creativity, emotions, etc., if we let them — some times we do and some times we don’t. It’s all okay. You get to decide the when.
It’s when not knowing how to say “No” puts you, your career, and those closest to you in a bind.

Too often, we only give lip service to what and who is important to us. Remember, your “yes(es)” are for those people, places, and things you enjoy spending time with. Life’s too short to do anything less.

Updated Oct 22, 2021