The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Knowing When To Say No At Work
Achieving the right work-life balance is becoming more and more difficult as technology gives the opportunity to work from anywhere and at all hours.
With the ability to work at home, people have gotten into the habit of bringing their work home with them which throws off their work-life balance. While it may seem like working extra hours will help us get ahead on projects or look more reliable to our peers, there is actually a point where taking on too much is a detriment to your work.
But how do you avoid getting into these situations where you’ve taken on too much? You must learn to respectfully say no to colleagues and bosses in the workplace.
Some examples of times where it’s appropriate to say no include:
When a new task will make other projects suffer.
When you’re not the most qualified person for the project.
When there’s no way you can realistically meet the defined timeline.
There are instances where it would actually be better for you and your company for you to decline a new project or task.
Saying no at work can be difficult, but GetVoIP has put together a list of tips that features the dos and dont’s of saying no. These tips include:
- Being honest.
- Knowing your availability.
- Asking for assistance with prioritization of the new task.
- Being empathetic.
- And more.
Read the infographic below to learn why you need to respectfully decline at work sometimes, and the benefits it can have for your career.
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HOW TO SAY NO AT WORK
WHY YOU SHOULD SAY NO
53% of Americans feel burned out or overworked.
49% of workers feel that providing more time to complete tasks would reduce burnout.
THE BENEFITS OF SAYING NO
- Higher quality work
- A better work-life balance
- The ability to hit deadlines
- Confidence to say no more often
WHEN TO SAY NO
- The tasks will make your other projects suffer
- The new project will actually hurt the company
- You’re not the most qualified person for the job
- You can’t realistically meet the established deadline
HOW TO SAY NO
Be candid about why you’re saying no – don’t offer lightweight reasons, share the real reasons you must decline.
DO: I can’t take on the task because I have a strict deadline this week.
DON’T: I am juggling a lot of things right now.
OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE
Try offering a helpful alternative – maybe you can contribute in different, smaller ways, or even work on the project at a later time.
DO: I can’t be the lead on this project right now, but I’d be happy to attend brainstorming sessions. You may also want to ask John for help.
DON’T: You should probably ask someone else.
KNOW YOUR AVAILABILITY
Others are counting on you, so if you do want to help with a project be realistic about when you actually have time.
DO: Unfortunately, I would not be able to do good a good job on this project right now, but I do have some free time next week.
DON’T: I’m not sure I have time for this right now, but who knows, I may be free in a few days.
ASK FOR ASSISTANCE WITH PRIORITIZATION
Explain to your boss how a new project will impact current assignments, and ask for guidance on how you should prioritize.
DO: I’d love to help with this, but I already have deadlines for X and Y project. How should I prioritize this project?
DON’T: I already have to finish X and Y projects. How am I supposed to fit this in?
REINFORCE YOUR OPENNESS TO HELP IN THE FUTURE
Respectfully tell your colleague that you are unable to help with this particular project, but remain open to assisting them in the future. If possible, let them know when you will have time.
DO: Thanks for thinking of me! Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to help with this right now, but I’d be happy to provide support on a future project.
DON’T: I don’t have time for this. I’m busy with my own work.
You may not be able to take on more work, but you can show the person that you understand what they’re going through and that you support them.
DO: Sorry Jane, I know how hard that can be!
DON’T: Suck it up, I’ve dealt with much worse.