One of the biggest misconceptions about working from home is that you have more time on your hands. That’s not the case. In fact, it’s easy to overwork and blur the line between professional and personal life.
In an office setting, you know overcommitting is a recipe for disaster. Apply that same mindset while working from home. We understand that saying “uh-uh” doesn’t come naturally, but communicating a healthy no will avoid burning out.
Assess all angles
Before passing off a project, take a step back and look at your plate. Is your calendar completely booked? Are you working on deadline? Do you have other tasks backlogged? Once you’ve evaluated your priorities, think about the project and how you fit into the equation.
📈 Is this an opportunity for growth?
☝️ Do my teammates need guidance?
🤔 Am I genuinely interested?
Delivering a good 'no'
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Your tone and facial expressions are 🔑. Be polite, respectful, and firm. Sighing or any negative body language can make your colleague feel bad for asking and discourage them from reaching out in the future
📆 “Thank you for thinking of me, but I’m actually committed to other tasks this week.”
😅 “I’m swamped at the moment, can I circle back to you in a couple of days?”
🙏 “I appreciate you coming to me, but I’ll have to pass.”
Note: It’s courteous to provide a brief explanation after declining, but if you don’t have one keep it short and sweet.
Give ‘em alternatives
Don’t leave your team hanging. Be empathetic and offer alternative solutions. Holly Weeks, author of Failure to Communicate says it’s vital to “acknowledge the other side.” That no can set your colleagues back, but do your part and point them in the right direction.
💭 “I can sit in at some meetings and give my feedback.”
☝️ “I’m sorry I can’t help, but I actually know someone else that can!”
📚 “I can send you some resources that I think will be helpful.”
It’s not easy saying no, but sometimes it’s necessary. With the current climate, we all want to be helpful and a yes-person, but part of being a successful, empowered professional is knowing your boundaries. Learning to say no (at your own pace!) will lead to a happier and less stressful life.
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