Say No to Extra Work

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If your boss continually piles work on your plate, even when it’s not related to your goals, learn to say no. Pushing back can be tricky, so handle the request carefully:

  • Don’t commit right away. Resist the urge to say “Okay” or “No” immediately. Instead, ask about the project and request some time to think it through. Give a date when you’ll get back to her.
  • Prepare a response. Use your bought time to think about your answer. You want to present an alternative plan that will enable your boss to get what she wants.
  • Go back to your boss. Explain how the added project might jeopardize your ability to get your other projects done and meet your goals. Propose the alternative and explain why you think it will work better.

Adapted from the Harvard ManageMentor Online Module: Time Management.

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