If you aren’t getting the support you need with your crushing workload, odds are it’s kind of your fault.
You have too much to do. You can’t do it alone. You need people to help you. Why aren’t they helping you? Here’s the uncomfortable truth: If you aren’t getting the support you need with your crushing workload, odds are it’s kind of your fault.
Try the following steps:
Figure out what you need. First, set aside time to figure out what, specifically, would really help you. Take a moment to go through everything on your plate. Identify tasks that someone could help you with that meet both of the following criteria: Having someone do it for you would provide significant relief or make you substantially more effective, and they could do it without tons of supervision or explaining.
Ask for it. Very clearly. One of the most underestimated obstacles to giving help is uncertainty. It’s up to you to take that uncertainty away by making an explicit request, being very, very specific about what it is you want and being careful to choose someone who actually can help in the way you are asking.
Accept whatever help you are offered. There are two ways in which we all tend to be overly rigid when it comes to accepting help, both of which can be self-defeating. The first is being rigid about the type of help we are looking for. The second has to do with whom we ask. We all have a tendency to write off the people who have turned down our requests in the past. But the research on this one is very clear: People who have rejected your request for help in the past are actually more likely to help you the second time you ask.
Say thanks. One of the most important motivators for helpers is the potential to feel effective. Studies show that when people can vividly imagine the impact their help will have — or, even better, can learn about the actual impact it had — they are more motivated to continue helping in the future. Remember, when it comes to getting the help you need, you have far better chances for success than you realize — if you’ll only ask.
Heidi Grant is a social psychologist who researches, writes and speaks about the science of motivation.