People are always asking for favors at the wrong times. They do it when we're swamped and don't have time. Or do they do it too often and the relationship gets imbalanced. We end up doing these calculations in our minds: Should I really put myself out for this person? Is it worth my time? Do they really deserve it?

The trick is to short-circuit that calculus. Favors are gifts, and gifts are undeserved by their very nature; otherwise they'd be payments. So naturally if we look at the small picture we don't find a reason to feel good giving a gift — or to feel comfortable receiving one. From such a limited perspective, we'd only feel right giving or receiving payments. But is that any way to live? I know it doesn't feel good when I live that way. I need to give more so I can feel good when I receive. . . .

Try this: when someone asks you for a favor, just say "yes," without hesitating and without thinking. Don't make any room for equivocation or evaluation. Say yes first and think later. I often urge you to think about things differently to help your practice, but this time I'm telling you not to think at all. You don't necessarily want to engage in not thinking every single time someone hits you up for a favor. But it's a wonderful practice to do every now and then. With repetition, you'll break down the tension between giving and paying that taints ordinary giving. You'll slowly approach the freedom of pure giving.

Franz Metcalf in Just Add Buddha!