You give your all to your job each day, but you can only tackle so much at one time. If working overtime has become your standard because you avoid saying no at all costs, it is time for a change. It will take time, but learning to set boundaries and recognizing when to say no will help you maintain a better work-life balance, while enabling you to focus more on your work and further develop career.
4 Ways to Start Saying No at Work
1. Be Honest
Be direct when explaining yourself. Whether you have more on your plate than you can handle, you are concerned about your ability to complete the task (due to lack of knowledge, experience or the right tools) or the project just is not the right fit, it’s better to be honest. Honest communication will help others understand your limits, interests and goals. Lying will only damage your integrity.
Things can become more complex if your boss is the requestor. In this case, provide a more detailed rundown of the other tasks currently taking up your time to see if any should be put on hold. Prioritizing might mean you still end up with the assignment, but maintain the same workload if another project is pushed to the side or given to someone else.
2. Avoid Giving False Hope
No matter why you hate saying no, it needs to be delivered in a decisive manner. Otherwise, it may not be convincing. This may cause the other person to think you will eventually give in to their request. Consequently, you must be firm with your response to send the message loud and clear. Be polite, but not a pushover.
3. Suggest Someone Else Assist
Stay in your colleague’s good graces by recommending someone else who would do a great job on the assignment. Instead of aimlessly passing the baton, take a minute to carefully consider who would be the best choice. Opt for someone reliable, with the right skill set, who has enough time to help.
4. Stop Worrying About Offending People
Whether you hate saying no because you are a people-pleaser, you enjoy a challenge, you love the work, or you are afraid to let people down, you say yes to everything. Now is the time to ditch the habit, because you need to look out for yourself. When people come to you with requests, they often are not considering how the added task will impact your workload. Your colleague might not be pleased with your decline, but there is no need to feel guilty for protecting your valuable time.
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