I did something smart today. It was an accident, but I'll take it.
About 1:30 this afternoon I was in the middle of a particular spreadsheet that I've been putting off (one out of many) when the Boss called. He wanted to know if his girlfriend could dictate a letter for me to type. This is something I've agreed to do for them. It doesn't have anything to do with the Company, but they don't take advantage of my good nature very often. I do what I can to keep the good will flowing in both directions.
This time, instead of biting my tongue, lip and the inside of my cheek, I balked. I hemmed and hawed and stuttered and sputtered. "Or," he said (and I knew I was onto something here), "she could write it out longhand and fax it to you tomorrow." In my mind, this is what I wanted, but I couldn't quite steer the conversation back to that point.
"I'm right in the middle of something," I told him (not adding that it was the eighth inning of the Giants' first playoff game, but that isn't what I meant anyway). "Could she wait about an hour and then call me? Or we could do it the other way. Longhand... tomorrow..." I sort of trailed off at the end, hoping he'd take the bait, but he outsmarted me as usual.
"Why don't you give me a call when you're ready for her to dictate the letter?" he suggested. What could I say to that? I knew the longhand-tomorrow option was out of play now, so I agreed.
Still, it was a pretty smart thing for me to do, shaking myself loose like that. Now they know that my time is too valuable for them to assume they can call and expect me to drop all the balls I'm juggling just so I can catch the wet towel they want to lob my way. Even though I know the Boss doesn't respect anyone he considers a pushover, I usually jump when he says jump. No "how high" or anything quite that obsequious, but still. Airborne.
The other benefit of getting them to accept my help on my own terms is that it got me off the hook for trying to get too much done this afternoon. The all-important letter took up so much of my time that it wasn't worth trying to get started on anything else. The rest will still be there tomorrow, or whenever I get around to it, but it was kind of relaxing to devote myself to one single, simple goal for a change.