A while back, I suggested that a necessary life mastery technique is to learn to say no. Remember: every task, project, or goal comes with an opportunity cost. This means that to achieve X you have to give up focusing on Y.
Requests for assistance occur daily. Get in the habit of turning down requests that are not directly related to your life mission, current goals, or vocation. If this is something hard for you (and it was for me at one time), decide to say no three times this week over the next 5 days. THREE TIMES! Of course, always be respectful and considerate of others when turning them down. Try to do this in a positive way.
Instead of just saying “no” here are three really good responses to make this easier:
I do not have the time to focus on this; however, I do have some ideas on how this can be done. Offering real suggestions that will assist someone achieve their goals faster, quicker, cheaper, or better are almost always appreciated. This is a valid way to help without taking ownership.
I have another major commitment; I would rather decline than produce mediocre work. This response allows others to know that you have both high integrity and high standard of quality. There are few counter arguments that can be offered to this honest response.
This is not my strength, but I do know someone else who may be able to help. Offering someone else as a possibly proxy is a good solution; however, this needs to be done thoughtfully and carefully. Do not dump on someone else and damage a relationship. Only suggest another individual if they really would be a good choice and would be able to help.
Bottom Line: Keep your time sacred. A lost minute is never restored. Say NO three times this week if you find it difficult as a way to get into the habit.