Overcommitting spreads you too thin and diminishes what you are able to contribute to the organization. Use these tips to say “No” more often and zero in on your priorities for greater productivity:
- Define your purpose. What is it that you most wish to accomplish through your work? Create a mission statement for yourself.
- Be selective. Spend time examining your current workload. Think about your overall goals and how well each project would contribute to them. You may need to eliminate those projects that don’t fit with your career ambitions or that prevent you from doing your best work on the projects that truly benefit the organization.
- Negotiate with superiors. Though saying “No” to your boss seems counterintuitive, consider this: If you don’t negotiate and stand up for your priorities, how will you be able to advance? Automatic yeses divide your focus, but saying “No” can make you look insubordinate. Have an honest conversation with your boss, and explain how you wish to narrow your focus for the good of the organization.
- Think about the bigger picture. Take time to plan for the future and strategically plan your tasks. Ask yourself questions like “If I can only focus my energy on three goals this quarter, which ones would be the most beneficial?” Be proactive with your career path instead of simply reacting to items thrown your way.
- Cease the people pleasing. Pleasing everyone all the time is not a good career objective. Instead, professionally and tactfully explain that you are focusing your energy on particular projects.
— Adapted from “The Simplest Way to Avoid Wasting Time,” Greg McKeown, www.linkedin.com.