Why Saying "No" to Extra Work is an Appropriate Time Management Technique


Why Saying


It’s good to work hard at your job. Being passionate and enthusiastic about what you do for a living is a good thing. But what happens when you’re being pushed too hard at work and you begin to struggle? When is the right time to say ‘no’ to your boss about the extra work and extra hours he wants you to put in? This post will guide you to re-think and improve your time management skills, and show you how the first step to doing this might be to say no to extra work.


What is Time Management?


A definition of time management is the process of being efficient, organised and tactical with the time you are given to complete various tasks. Having good time management will result in getting a lot of work done in less time.

Time management is a crucial skill that everyone needs, whether it’s for work, school or at home. Why not take a time-management course, to ensure that you’re utilising your time wisely in every sector of your life? Managing your time effectively will make sure that you’re on top of everything and that you’ve dedicated enough time to each job you need to take care of. Yes, it takes some practice and perseverance but if you’re willing to work on it, you can achieve anything!


How can you improve your time management skills?


If you’re wondering how to manage your time successfully, why not try some of these useful time management tips?

  1. Know exactly what tasks you need to complete and their deadlines.

  2. Prioritise the most important/most difficult/most time-consuming tasks first. This will ensure that you have the most time and effort dedicated to these jobs.

  3. Use a planner or an online time management tool to track your progress and help you visualise what still needs to be completed and by when. A useful online tool you could use is Trello, where you can easily create your own time management plan.

  4. Say “no” to extra work! If you feel that additional work will affect other tasks you have to do or make you feel under pressure, simply say ‘no’ – remember, you are in control of your time, so you make the decisions.

  5. Give yourself enough time to complete each task and be realistic. For example: writing a 5,000-word report will not be achieved in an hour. By giving yourself time and giving yourself realistic expectations, you lessen the pressure on yourself and enable yourself to work more productively.

  6. Steer clear of bad distractions. Turn off your phone while you work to make the most out of the time you have to complete all you’ve planned to do in the day. If you get distracted, it could be detrimental to the time management plan you created and will leave you with less time to complete what you need to do. This is definitely something we want to avoid.

  7. Embrace good distractions. Give yourself small a break from work every 1 or 2 hours to stretch your legs, get a cup of coffee or simply go out for some fresh air. These breaks aim to recharge your batteries, so you can easily complete all your tasks at hand.

  8. Be committed. If you know you must achieve something – follow through. Don’t plan to do it and then lose all motivation when it’s time to take action. Try to be determined and ready to do all the errands you’ve set yourself, without fail.

  9. Aim for a good work-life balance. Yes, work pays for the bills but don’t forget to dedicate time for yourself, your family and your friends. If you don’t, you risk lacking a sense of equilibrium in your life. This can have a negative effect on both your mental health and your future overall health according to MedicalNewsToday.

  10. Reward yourself at the weekend for completing everything you needed to during the week. Don’t forget to treat yourself for your hard work. This final step enables you to stay more motivated during the week because you have a treat to look forward to if you achieve everything in your time management plan.


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Of course, following these steps stringently will ensure an improvement in your time management skills. But there are times when you simply can’t stick to your schedule – maybe your personal life is taking a toll or you’re just simply feeling under the weather. Remember that you should always put yourself first and take the time you need to feel better. Whatever you do, when you’re in this state of mind, don’t take on extra work – this the most crucial thing to bear in mind.


How to say “no” to extra work


  • Tell your boss about your existing workload. Chances are, they’ve forgotten or are unaware of the tasks you already have. If you explain your current work situation calmly and politely, your boss will understand and will not be taken aback when you reject the extra work. If he or she doesn’t show an understanding– it might be time to find another job.

  • Try and find some sort of alternative for your boss when you say “no”. Why not come to a compromise and say you could do the work the following week if it’s not an urgent matter? Or perhaps recommend a colleague of yours who you know is eager to accept extra work.

  • Show appreciation. Tell your boss you appreciate them asking you and trusting you with the extra work. Everyone wants to be acknowledged sometimes and your manager is no exception.

  • Whatever you do, don’t share your personal problems with your boss after he/she asks for help. This will simply not help the situation and, even if your issue is justified and genuine, it may seem like you're simply giving excuses, and your boss may not offer you the opportunity again, even if you are ready for it in the future.


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Why is saying “no” an appropriate time management technique?


It’s something we can all agree on – everyone wants to feel capable in their job and impress those who have higher authority. But saying “no” is far better than jeopardising your mental health and pre-planned time management schedule or struggling and feeling anxious about your overwhelming work load. Countless books, such as Pamela Dodd and Doug Sundheim’s book on the '25 Best Time-Management Techniques’ where saying “no” is number 12 on their list, support the idea that rejecting extra work is essential when you simply don’t have time or are not feeling up to it. There are many other business skills you need when working, but time-management is one of the most important and should not be overlooked.

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