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everyday tasks
right moment
coworker
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Saying No At Work
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We're often told that to succeed in the workplace, we should welcome every opportunity with open arms and that we should say yes to everything because there's a possibility that it could take us down a different path in our careers. That is certainly a good idea--if we are all adept at spotting opportunities and knowing when the right moment is to say yes. However, many of us are simply guessing, and as a result, we end up giving ourselves headaches, wearing ourselves out, and trying to do too much. That is why you have to know when and how to say no properly.

For example, you can say no if your plate is already overflowing and you can't manage to squeeze in one more project or task. Acknowledge how important the request is, and highlight that the person who is asking you to work on it will need someone who will give it his or her 100% attention and that it will need to be done very well. You can explain that at the moment (this is particularly important to mention), that person is not you, but you look forward to upcoming tasks once your schedule's a bit freer.

It would also be a good idea for you to say no and then propose alternatives that the other person should explore. This indicates that although you cannot be directly involved, you fully understand his or her dilemma, and that you are still willing to help out in that manner. Just remember not to say no to opportunities to boost your skills or to undergo performance coaching and improve your career. Anything that clearly enhances your career and offers more than boring everyday tasks is worth your time and effort. You may also want to take into consideration the person who is doing the asking. Nobody will blame you if you turn down a plea from a coworker who is notorious for passing on his or her tasks to other people.

Remember that learning how to say no at work and knowing when to do so is always a matter of knowing yourself, what you're willing to do, how far you're willing to go, and knowing what aspects are absolutely non-negotiable for you. It may take some coaching for you to be able to drum up the nerve to say no definitively. Saying no can free up your schedule and your life as well as show those who intend to take advantage of your skill that you cannot be manipulated. It does not mean that you are lazy and unwilling to work. Rather, it signifies that you fully intend to focus on what you already have on your plate to ensure that you can work efficiently.


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