Prioritizing your own needs: “Can you help me with this project?”

As humans, we’re wired to want to help others. We’re taught from a young age to be kind, considerate, and generous with our time and resources. But what happens when we’re asked to help someone with a project, and we’re already overwhelmed with our own tasks and responsibilities? How do we navigate these situations without feeling guilty or selfish for prioritizing our own needs?

First and foremost, it’s essential to recognize that saying no or setting boundaries with others doesn’t make you a bad person. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. By prioritizing your own needs, you’re taking care of yourself, which ultimately allows you to show up more fully and authentically in your relationships with others.

So, what do you say when someone asks, Can you help me with this project? Here are some strategies and example responses to help you prioritize your own needs:

Be honest and direct

When someone asks for your help, it’s okay to be honest about your current workload and availability. You can say:

I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’ve got a lot on my plate right now. I don’t think I’ll be able to take on anything else.


I’m currently prioritizing my own projects, but I can offer some guidance or resources to help you get started.

Offer alternatives

If you can’t take on the project, but still want to help, offer alternatives. You could say:

I’m not available to take on the entire project, but I’d be happy to review your work or provide feedback on specific sections.


I can’t commit to the full project, but I can spare an hour to brainstorm ideas with you.

Set clear boundaries

It’s crucial to set clear boundaries and communicate them assertively. You can say:

I’m not comfortable committing to this project right now. I need to focus on my own priorities.


I appreciate the ask, but I’m trying to prioritize my own well-being and take on fewer commitments.

Ask for clarification

If you’re unsure about the scope of the project or the level of involvement, ask for clarification. You can say:

Can you tell me more about the project and what you’re hoping I can do to help?


How much time do you estimate this project will take? I want to make sure I understand the commitment.

Offer resources

If you can’t help directly, offer resources or connections that might be helpful. You can say:

I’m not the best fit for this project, but I know someone who might be able to help. Let me introduce you.


I’ve got a great book or online resource that might be helpful for your project. Would you like the recommendation?

Practice assertive responses

It’s essential to practice assertive responses in low-stakes situations, so when you’re faced with a more significant request, you’re comfortable saying no or setting boundaries. You can practice by saying:

I’m not comfortable lending you my car, but I can offer to drive you to the store.


I’d rather not go to the movies tonight, but let’s plan something for next week.

Remember, prioritizing your own needs is not selfish; it’s necessary for your well-being and ability to show up fully in your relationships. By being honest, offering alternatives, setting clear boundaries, asking for clarification, offering resources, and practicing assertive responses, you’ll be better equipped to navigate requests and prioritize your own needs.

In conclusion, remember that taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. By prioritizing your own needs, you’re not only taking care of yourself but also becoming a better friend, partner, and colleague. So, the next time someone asks, Can you help me with this project? remember to take a deep breath, prioritize your own needs, and respond with confidence.

Be kind ❤

Related Posts