There’s nothing wrong with being hard working, but there are times when your drive and energy can wind up being counterproductive – and actually reverse your progress.
Taking on too much just makes you less productive and only leads to missed deadlines, impaired quality of work and burnout. Which aren’t things you want taken into consideration next time you’re up for a promotion! It’s not always easy saying ‘no’ to your boss, but if you do at the right times, it will help you win respect, as well as maintain the standard required of you and the business.
You know, it is possible to say ‘no’ without seeming rude or lazy. The key is honesty. Explain calmly why a task should be delegated to someone else and they will appreciate your maturity and ability to stay cool. And be sure to say this in-person not via email. Sometimes the “tone” of an email can be misconstrued! Remember though, they are the boss: be thankful for the work and apologize for declining work, even when you’ve explained why it can’t be finished or has to be delegated. If your schedule is just too packed, arrange a meeting with the boss, so you can have an in-depth look at your workload. It’s a great way to show you’re serious about the job.
The infographic below sets out an action plan for how to (politely) turn down work. It’s worth getting familiar with and knowing exactly how to execute it – before you do anything too drastic! Taking responsibility for your work shows ambition, but everyone has a limit, no matter how organized they are. So, next time your desk is covered by a never ending pile of work, try giving it a go and reaping the benefits after.
John is a digital nomad and freelance writer. Specialising in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in Norway, the UK and the Balkans. Connect with him on LinkedIn.