It’s an art in itself – helping someone as well as delegating to that exact degree where what you ask for is still help with the task that you are doing and not 95% of it completed. Wondering what exactly am trying to say? Let me explain..
You sit down to cut vegetables – just you and the bag of veggies beside you. And then call out to someone else – ‘Can you bring the cutting board and knife?’ Obliged.
Just as the other person is about to settle back with that book he/she was blissfully reading, -‘Could you wash the veggies too please?’ Obliged again, but this time with a sigh.
‘And one last favour – just get vessels of the appropriate size, one for the spinach, one for the drumstick, maybe a plate for the tomatoes and onions. And wash them all, will you? The maid doesn’t do it that well. There will be traces of soap on it.’
And once the cutting is done – ‘Please clear the peels off the floor and just give it a light mop. And place these cut veggies in the fridge’. Open the fridge and it’s full to the brim. You need to employ all the skills you ever had in space management to place the stuff in.
So who actually did work here? The one who cut the vegetables or the one who ran the errands? My point is not that no one should help out another person in doing things, be it at home or at work. But do that task completely and relieve people around you of having to do anything related to it. That’s where you add value.
If I want to give my sis a break, I should take care of my nephew completely. Give him food, entertain him and put him to sleep. All this while she reads a book, takes a nap or does something that interests her. Instead, if am going to call out every few minutes saying ‘He is not eating properly.. Can you serve some curd please .. Can you refill water .. He is throwing a tantrum .. Please come and tell him off .. ‘ , she might as well do it all herself. If I truly want to give her a break, she must forget that her little one and me are sitting in another room. She should be allowed to get engrossed by the book that she’s reading or the art work that she’s doing.
My dad is sometimes really good at this. He loves to feed people and he does it in perfect style. If he makes juice, it would reach us in our hands at the sofa where we would be sitting and blissfully vegetating. Shortly though, my mom would shriek with horror at the sight of the kitchen but that is besides the point J Cleaning the kitchen is a separate sub task isn’t it? After washing our throats down with the yummy fresh juice, one of us can do the kitchen cleaning. But while making the juice, if he had called out a dozen times for fruits, peeler, cutter, sugar, water ... We might as well go without the juice. You get the picture now?
We all do the mistake of pestering another person to ‘assist’ us while we actually ‘do’ the big job. But more often than not, the assisting part is more demanding and painful. The other kind of scenario also happens where we help for namesake and the work needs to be re-done after we leave the scene.
You must help each other, but the help that you do or ask for should be meaningful. One person is enough to make a bed. You don’t need someone to hold and spread the sheet on the other side unless you are in a tearing hurry to finish it. Let the others have their time while you finish this small odd job. One person is enough to steer a meeting at work. You don’t need to constantly chip in with your ‘inputs’ unless the person who is speaking needs help or is missing out something important. Allow that person to do the show while he/she is able to manage on their own.
Do I have a fair point? What's your take?