We all want to be respected at work. No matter the career, we want to be considered good at our job and an important team player. We want to step up, and we should. Right?
One step to building this credibility is taking on any project given to us and attempting to execute it flawlessly. Time and time again you say “yes,” until eventually you are the dependable member of the staff that people can count on.
But always volunteering can easily become a slippery slope. Eventually, the papers pile up on our desk and our calendar has more events in it than time slots available. We rush to complete the assignments and aren’t able to be as detail-oriented, causing our quality and productivity drastically decrease while our stress increases.
If this has happened to you, then you’re not alone. Studies claim that 53% of Americans report feeling burned out or overworked. How do we find a balance between proving our worth and taking on too many projects?
Sometimes the only solution is to say no.
Although it may seem like a negative resolution at first glance, saying no can lead to many positive outcomes. It can enable us to produce higher quality work because we can focus on specific projects and take the time to catch and fix any problems. It can also allow us to hit our deadlines and not end up behind schedule, which reduces burnout in the workplace.
But if we determine a situation warrants saying no, how do we know the right way to decline without causing any backlash? If it is handled poorly, more conflicts can come from it. GetVoIP has compiled a list of tips to help guide you through awkward or nerve-wracking situations when saying no. Some of their ideas include:
- Communicate in person
- Be honest
- Offer an alternative
- Be calm and deliberate
- Ask for assistance with prioritization
- Reinforce your openness to help in the future.
Check out their infographic below (with more commentary afterward):
Saying no at work is hard.
However, to set the correct boundaries and allow yourself to succeed at what you do, it’s necessary. Luckily, it’s possible to say no in a way in which you can still maintain positive relationships with your managers and co-workers.
In fact, there are many times where it’s in the best interest of both you and the company for you to say no. Some other benefits of saying no are:
- Higher quality work.
- Avoiding missed deadlines.
- And the confidence and comfort level to say no in the future.
Following this advice will prevent you from feeling guilty and help you balance the projects you have in a more productive way. And more importantly, it will help to establish clear boundaries about what you can (and should) do and not do. All of us need to have these defined in order to stay healthy and productive.
So go out and try it: say no at work. As the old American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw once wrote: “Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.”
Reuben Yonatan is the founder of GetVoIP, a leading VoIP provider comparison resource. As an entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, Reuben’s expertise is in helping small to mid-size business owners build, maintain, and scale their communication infrastructure.