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Said yes when you should have said no?

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Feeling overcommitted? Said yes when you should have said no? Here's some sage advice on how to set boundaries and still share your time and energy:

Try saying maybe. Often, we think we'll have time tomorrow that we don't have today, once we work through our to-do lists and finish our current commit­ments. It's tempting to say yes to new tasks and projects under these circumstances—and then it turns out we don't have that extra time after all. It's better to defer mak­ing a decision to accept a new obligation until we're absolutely sure we can handle it and can perform the task up to our own standards. It's better to have a reputation as someone who consistently succeeds than as someone who overpromises.

Don't apologize when saying no. A polite "I'm sorry" is OK, but don't send the message that even you think you're responding the wrong way to a request for assistance. Your decision to decline is not only perfectly legitimate but also unlikely to be as disappointing to oth­ers as you may fear. After all, it's usually easier for them to ask someone else than it would be for you to take on the assign­ment. There's no need for guilt.

Keep explanations in check. Along the same lines, you usually don't have to justify a negative response to a request. There are two exceptions, though. If you're being asked to do something you never want to do—like, say, loan some­one money—you should consider letting the requester know what your rules are. And if you're being asked to do some­thing by your boss, it's best to explain why you feel you must decline, if only to keep him informed about your workload.

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