Who on earth are these time vampires and how the hell do you stop them?! Hint: Garlic won’t work on these kind of vamps…
Do you ever find yourself ‘helping’ people and then feeling afterwards a bit like you’ve been taken advantage of? Yes?! Oh dear, you’ve fallen prey to a Time Vampire #awkward Let’s make sure you’re managing your time effectively and not wasting it on time vampires!
Sometimes Time Vampires don’t even realise what they are doing but if you don’t have clear boundaries, you could find yourself falling into a trap of giving away more and more of your time. Your time is money, don’t waste it on Time Vampires.
There are lots of genuine people who are truly grateful for your time and support and if you’re just starting out in business, giving free advice can be the way to go BUT just be mindful of how much time you are giving for free. I’m talking about people who deliberately try and ‘pick your brains, for their own gains’ (hey I made a poem).
So how can you identify Time Vampires in your business?
Here are the kind of things that Time Vampires say…
- Could you just take a quick look at this?
- It will only take a minute
- Can I pick your brains?
- Will you have a quick look at [insert item relevant to your expertise here]?
And the kind of things Time Vampires do…
- Send you multiple emails/messages and expect quick responses (don’t! see tips below)
- Have no respect for your boundaries or work routine
- Don’t expect to have to pay for your services
- Take advantage of your good nature
Recognise any of the above? It’s time to take action and be assertive.
You need to have clear boundaries in your business so you don’t end up giving up your precious time to people who are unappreciative or undeserving…and even worse, not even paying you!
Tips for dealing with Time Vampires
- Be clear about your working routine. If you say your office hours are 9-5, stop answering emails at midnight
- Just say ‘No’. I know, it’s really hard because you’re a lovely person who wants to help people but save your time for people who respect your time and pay you.
- Start small. If saying outright ‘No’ is REALLY scary for you, say ‘No, not right now’. It’s a brave first step and helps you to gain some control.
- No excuses. No need to make up an elaborate story about why you don’t have time. Just tell it like it is…you’re too busy and just don’t have time.
- Be honest. Stop bending over backwards for people who don’t appreciate you. If you don’t have the time to help, just say so.
- Stop it with the quick firing! I’m talking replying to emails and messages the instant they appear. STOP. Deliberately hold off replying for at least 12 hours. Enough time for them to head off to Google! This can really help you too. There’s no need to be online 24/7 – have set times you reply to your emails (I’d suggest after lunch each day).
- Manage expectations. Following on from the quick firing, if you always reply to a Time Vampire’s email quickly, they will always expect it.
- Field enquiries. If you are getting the same types of query from people again and again (because you are so freaking amazing at what you do, everyone wants a piece of you!) get it on your FAQ’s page, make a YouTube video or write a blog. That way you can kill 2 Time Vampires with one clove of garlic #sorrybadvampirejoke
- Prepare yourself. When you’re caught off guard by an impromptu request over the phone or in person, it can be really hard to say no. Don’t be forced into something – say you’ll get back to them tomorrow. Prepare for such eventualities.
- Time to say goodbye? If you have someone in your business life who is continuing to take advantage of you and draining your time, it may be time to part ways. This is always going to be an awkward situation to be in but you can’t allow yourself to be manipulated.
By taking control of Time Vampires you will free up some time to actually work on your business – yay! Come on, you can do this – be Super Assertive.
Here’s the Facebook live I recorded about Time Vampires
Can you identify any Time Vampires in your life? I’d love to hear how you manage them, comment below.