Congratulations, you are the new superstar in the office! You always meet the deadlines. Your boss constantly sends you short e-mails of praise (“Great job!” “Well done!” “How did I live without you ?!”). Colleagues regularly ask you to share your perspective on a problem. The only tiny drawback of all this is that from such a load you burst at the seams. Everyone knows that you are good, so you are always the first: when choosing a manager for a new project, and when looking for an organizer for an extra-work event, and when looking for the main thing for everything new that happens at work. You know firsthand about work exhaustion and when you look at your once-perfect pencil skirt, you see threads protruding.
This article is an opportunity to find the perfect retreat strategy for you. When someone tries to sign you up for a project where you could theoretically help, but which is far from the top of the priority list (yours and your boss’s), use the responses we chose, which sound both polite and professional.
- “I would really like to help, but for now all my attention should be focused on [select a task].”
- “Until [select a date], my focus is entirely on [select an issue]. After that, I will be happy to discuss how I can help.”
- “I would really like to help, but I understand that at the moment I cannot allocate as much time as it takes for a good result.”
- “I know [insert name] is eager to take on a new project – maybe you ask him?” – Only use this answer if you are one hundred percent sure that one of the interns or assistants wants to take on a new project, but needs someone to mention their name to their superiors.
- “I am ready to take on this project, but it will only be ready by [insert the date by which it is realistic to complete the task]. Let me know if that suits you.” – Use this answer if you don’t have time for additional work right now, but the project sounds exciting enough that you would like to work on it in the future.
- “The boss told me to fully focus on the current project. Next time, I’ll be happy!” – This is a less professional answer, so only use it when asked for something completely mundane, like brainstorming if a colleague can do it with other employees.
- “Sorry, I’m not taking any additional work at the moment, but thanks for remembering me!” – This is a good concise answer if you’re a freelancer. Do you work in an office? Please skip this option.
- “Sorry, I’m not taking additional clients at this time, but I can recommend [insert names].” – Like the previous option, this one is good if you are a doctor, photographer, wedding planner, or consultant. Remember that recommending someone increases karma.
- “Sounds like a really exciting opportunity, but unfortunately, my schedule is full, so this time I won’t be able to.” – Ideal for someone calling you to attend an event or conference.
Got the logic? You start with something positive — you “would like to help” or “this sounds like a great opportunity,” and then refuse without too much detail. You can not. You just need to say no, then you and your colleagues can move on.