Often we find it difficult to say 'no' - to push back on additional work, to tell our boss that we have too much on without adding more work to the pile, to reduce the pressure coming down on us from above.
Try some of these methods of saying "No" to receiving more work;
- Say 'Yes' followed by a rider - "Yes I can, let's look at what else I have on and see where I can fit it in." or "Yes, although it might take me a little while to get to it given the other priorities that I have at the moment." or "Yes of course I can, is the end of the week okay?" All of these sentences are subtle ways of saying that you have lots to do already.
- Say 'No', followed by a maybe - "No I can't at this time however if you leave it with me I will get to it as soon as I can." or "No, not right now, how urgent is it?" or "No, but there may be a chance later in the week."
- Say 'No' without a maybe - "No I can't I'm afraid as I simply have too much on at the moment and I do not want to rush and make a mistake."
- Offer a solution - "I am snowed under at the moment, have you asked...." or "I am unable to help right now, are there other options that you have considered to get this done?"
- Thank them - "Thank you for bringing this to me, you know that I like to assist whenever I can. I was going to catch up on other work first if that is okay?"
There are a couple of rules to adhere to when saying 'No':
- Be polite - Rude people get treated rudely, no one wins.
- Learn how to say 'no' - The more that you say 'no' the easier it becomes.
- Don't always say 'no' - be careful not to fall into the trap of alienating yourself from others because you always say 'no' to everything or being seen as negative person.
- 'No' is a negative word - take care that you do not use 'no' for everything as 'no' is a negative word and your brain will register the negativity and begin to 'think' that way.
- Soften the word if you can - because the word 'no' is short and sharp, it can often sound abrupt. Try adding words with a similar meaning such as 'unable to' or 'cannot at the moment' or 'not right now'.
Say 'no' only if you really have to, helping others is a form of altruism and the benefits of doing so are beneficial to your wellbeing.