A lot of the time, it can seem like being insanely busy at work is just the norm. Good employees are always tackling big projects and saying yes to more work, right?
But being too overwhelmed can lead to burnout and slip-ups. The problem is, a lot of hard workers can find it difficult to say no when they’re asked to take on more.
Think, then answer
So how can you decide when to say yes and when to say no?
Leadership expert and coach Scott Mautz has a good system to help you determine whether you can actually take on the assignment. Here are five questions to ask yourself.
- What’s really involved? We may try to kid ourselves, but things almost always take longer than we think. Understand the scope of what you’re signing up for before saying yes. Think about how much time and effort the task will actually take — and it’s better to err on the side of caution.
- What’s the cost of saying ‘yes’? There might be more effort required than completing the actual assignment. For example, you might need to learn a new skill or get assistance.
- Will taking this on serve my mission? Think about whether this task will help you contribute to your career goals. Does the assignment really matter? If it’s a small, mundane task, it most likely isn’t worth your time.
- Is this on my ‘to-don’t’ list? Are there specific things you try not to get sucked into? Is this one of those things?
- Can I give a different ‘yes’? If you can’t do the task yourself, but want to help out the asker, suggest an alternate solution or co-worker to assist. This shows support without burdening yourself.