We’ve all experienced being overloaded with work at some point. Sometimes it’s simply the nature of the job, where some periods are busier than others, while other times it feels like we have a never-ending list of loose ends. Don’t panic – we’ve all been there.
While time management tricks can help out with the tasks you have at hand, there is one thing that you can do to prevent the situation from getting worse.
Here are Ceek’s tips on how and when to say no when things are building up at work:
Say No. It’s not a dirty word
There’s this perception that saying NO is a bad thing, particularly at the workplace. You don’t want to seem like you’re lazy or unmotivated, or you don’t want to upset and disappoint colleagues. On the contrary, we want to think of ourselves as being dependable and always ready to help out whoever needs help.
However, more often than not, when we keep saying ‘yes’ to tasks, we end up stressed and stretched, and it’s not just the quality of our work that suffers but also our mental health. Saying no might be the best way forward both for ourselves, and for the organisation.
Put things into perspective
Before saying ‘no’ to a task simply because you’re overloaded, take a step back and analyse the situation:
How time-consuming is this new task?
Is it quite straightforward, or do you need to really do some added research in order to complete it?
How important is the task on the whole? Could it be pushed back slightly?
Does the person asking for help need it from you, or can someone else step in?
Am I interested in this task? Should I make time for it?
Do I have any work I can delegate?
When refusing work, it’s very normal to beat around the bush. However, our advice is to always be as straightforward as possible with your replies. There is no need to lie and there is no need to hesitate – be firm and frank with the person on the receiving end. We also suggest that you offer some solutions if any are available. Here are some great answers:
If I take on this task, I won’t do it as well as it should be. I have a number of other projects right now that need my full attention.
I wish I could help you, but my plate is too full at the moment.
I would love to work on this, but the timing is not right. Can we discuss things later on?
I won’t be able to do this task, but I will speak to the rest of my team and see if anyone has the time for it.
Overall, we’ve found that people are quite understanding when it comes to these things. Most times, your colleagues have been in your shoes, and will appreciate the honesty.