Don't say no, ask when

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Manage episode 296912446 series 1463166
By Janice Chaka and The Career Introvert. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

I'm going to talk about saying no, but not just saying no, generally when you're feeling overwhelmed or think about productivity or one of the things we get told, and I definitely agree with it to a certain extent, and I've said it myself, is to say no to sad thing and constructively saying no or, you know, I'll check my calendar or I'll do whatever it is to put a little buffer between that person asking a question.

You having to get back with an answer straight away, because a lot of the time might say yes, reflexively and then look at me like, oh, I don't know how I'm going to fit this in. So, yes, when you feeling overwhelmed and you're not sure if you can do something or maybe you just don't want to say yes to something, saying no in a way that is constructive is helpful. However, when you're at work, you might feel more pressure.

If you say now, you might feel that you can't really. So here's what kind of works, yes, you should say no more often, because it will free up your time and really work for your productivity. But in practise, this advice can also kind of backfire, because while you can set boundaries around your work, you can't straight up refuse a task when your boss asks you to take it on. So you need to figure out a better way or method of saying no, which can at least turn that no into an actual actionable solution or like a no.

But so instead of saying no, a straight out no or no, blah, blah, blah, blah, you can also say no, let me check my calendar. But instead of saying no, ask when I'm without understanding sort of where your deadline might be, it can be superficial for you just to say no straight off the bat could be there asking you for something that they don't need for two months. So setting that boundary be like, OK, when do you need this body is really, really important.

And so the other thing you can do to help expand that is, oh, you need it by this date. OK, well, let's look at my calendar and see how this can fit in. So you want to sit down with your manager or whoever else, you know, time to look over your schedule together. This only works if you've got sort of time boxing in your calendar where you've blocked out certain times for certain things on certain tasks.

So you're like, OK, here is everything that is on my plate for the week ahead. For example, here, all my task is how long it should take to do them. This is what my calendar currently looks like. Now you want me to do this X, Y or Z task for whenever it might be. Let's see how I can fit it in. Maybe this task you've already given me that you can see here that aren't as much of a priority as this new task you want to give me.

So let's work to see where I can fit some time into work on this thing that you need me to work on and then we can figure out the priorities together. Now, the great thing about doing that is you're being proactive, showing how your time is being used, because a lot of managers really just don't have a clue. And you're saying you're happy to make space and time for this task, but they need to keep in mind how much of a priority it is and it helps them rethink their priorities and what they're asking.

So asking when they need it and then taking a look at everything that you need to do is super helpful when it comes to making sure you have time, block time, letting your manager know exactly what it is that you're doing and making sure that you have space and time to do said work. Now, just say, like we discussed before, just saying no isn't the best option. So having these extra questions like how long do you think it's going to take?

What steps and what other information do I need to make a concrete sort of plan about this? Because sometimes you think it's going to be one thing but really ends up taking X, Y and Z time. And so if you've already shown your commitment and said, OK, this is how much time I have, and then you figure out that, oh, actually, it's going to take X, Y and Z more time, you can then get back to manager and be like, remember when up to my count I had this amount of time we thought the task was going to take this amount of time.

Well, it's not it's going to take this amount of time because of X, Y and Z. So now let's take a look again, see if the timeline is still right and if that's what we want to do and how priority it is. And this is how I will fit it into how I work. So this is a just a different way that you can work with managers to help them respect your time, be let them see what you're doing and see give a little bit of pushback if they're trying to get you to do something that is out of scope or will take too much time and make you work overtime that they won't be paying for.

So I thank you for listening. This is janice@thecareerintrovert.com helping you build your brand and get hired. Look forward to speaking to you next week. Have a great rest of your week.

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