How to Say No to Taking on More Work
Every day, we get requests to take on more work. It’s an instinct for us to want to say yes and help out however we can. But there are times when you need to decline the request politely. It’s hard to say no when one is the only one working in your office, but it’s essential. If one can’t find time for everything on the list of tasks, at least some tasks are not important enough to do well. Alexander Djerassi discusses how working professionals can politely say no to taking on more work tasks while also offering tips on when to take on additional business responsibilities.
Djerassi recommends that people first assess whether the new task aligns with their goals. If it’s not, then it’s probably not worth their time to take on the responsibility. It would be best to consider how the new task would impact their current workload. If it will add significantly more work, it’s probably not a good idea to add it to your list of responsibilities. If you say yes, one may feel overworked and miserable, which will affect productivity
The best way to say no is by using a polite decline such as “I’m sorry, but I can’t take on that task.” People don’t need to explain their reasoning; the person requesting the task should understand. If they don’t, then it’s probably best not to take on the responsibility in the first place. One can also offer an alternative solution, such as “I can work on that task after finishing my current project.” This way, one is still helping out and not taking on more work than they can handle.
One may also say no through the medium of the “pretend you are being kidnapped” method. Alexander Djerassi recommends trying to buy time if they are insistent by saying you will need to talk with your boss or other co-workers. This way, they can understand when they need more time to think about it and when they are unwilling to help them with their request.
Of course, there are times when it’s impossible to say no. If a person is the only one working on a project and someone requests them to take on additional work, they may not have much choice. In this case, it’s important to be realistic about your workload and communicate with co-workers about what one can and can’t do. It is recommended to ask for help when feeling overwhelmed.
Also, keep in mind that there are some times when it’s okay to say yes to additional work tasks. When feeling overwhelmed, it might be a good idea to take on a new task to get your work back under control. Additionally, if the new task aligns with your goals and won’t impact your current workload, then it’s probably a good idea to take it on.
Saying no can be difficult, but it’s important for productivity and sanity. When one can politely say no, they can focus on the important tasks and are less likely to feel overwhelmed. Remember these tips next time when faced with a request to do more work.