How to say NO at work which will actually help you excel !

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As a workaholic, over-enthusiast, trainee, intern or someone who seeks professional validation, your answer to every question or order pertaining to work will always be positive. Even if you do not fall in any of the categories mentioned in the previous line, you are still likely to say yes if your boss gives you work when your day is coming to an end. This happens because when a person declines any work or a project or refuses to work late, s/he is often labelled as unprofessional and the bonuses and benefits offered to them slowly start dwindling. He is scared to say no at work.

How to say no at work

However, there is a way out if you prefer having a personal life as well. The way is to say “no” when you want to. Now, it may seem like a difficult and rude thing to say to your boss but you don’t have to blurt it out in a passive-aggressive manner.

You need to craft the perfect negative answer which will get you out of doing a task and at the same time, not spoil your relationship with your boss. You can try saying “Thank you so much for considering me for this project, but I was planning to work on *name some other projects* this week.” Convince him that you want to give in your cent percent to a particular project which is the reason you aren’t taking up any more work. Depending on the urgency of the project, your boss will either assign it to you and push back the other projects or give it to someone else to handle.

If it is your co-worker you need to say to, try and come up with an almost real reason instead of saying that you are swamped with work. Something like “I would love to help you out but I am really bad with Maths and would mess up the accounts,” sounds convincing and will give the hint to your colleague.

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However, even while declining a certain amount of work you need to be careful enough to not go overboard with the apologies or setting boundaries for yourself. Just because you have learnt the art of saying no doesn’t mean you use it for every opportunity you get because that is bound to get you the label of an unprofessional in your workplace and in severe cases, you might end up getting fired.

Benefits of learning to say no

Apart from making you seem like a more confident person, saying no at work comes with various other benefits which are listed below:

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• Setting healthy barriers at work

Building the good kind of fences around you is necessary as it helps you master the skill which will enhance personal and professional growth. These barriers shouldn’t be perceived in negative sense because they are essential for your well-being just like the fence between your and the neighbour’s house. By saying no, you set boundaries for yourself for the things you believe aren’t in your capacity and by doing that you open up a space which is necessary for saying a yes to something else.

• Low stress levels

Because you don’t take up unnecessary workload like you did before, the pressure exerted on you is way lesser. This, in the long run, helps in reducing your stress levels and helps you feel more relaxed now that you have more time to think about other things. When you are working on an array of things, you often tend to lose focus because of the sheer volume of work which spikes up your stress levels. The high stress levels result in headaches, lethargy and loss of concentration and enthusiasm towards work.

• More time for yourself

Now that you have exactly the amount of work you can handle on your plate, you will find yourself enjoying solitude. There can be no better opportunity to reconnect with yourself than by spending time alone. You could also rekindle an old hobby which will help you feel more content in your newfound time.

• Less piling of vestigial work

Because you are the kind of person who prefers to say yes for everything, chances are that all the unnecessary work is piled on you. In a case like that, you will find yourself overburdened and frustrated because neither are your capabilities being used to their best nor are you excelling at work. These negative feelings slowly start getting bottled up and creating a sense of underachievement which often leads to depression and high levels of stress. Thus, by saying a simple no to the work you don’t want to do, you can avoid this situation.

Hence, if you really want to excel in the professional sphere, you got to take hold of the reins and instead of nodding your head for everything, learn to say a simple no in the most polite and courteous way possible.

  • Written byNiharika Nandi

    Niharika Nandi is a media trainee who loves exploring the fields of photography and baking simultaneously. She’s a self-proclaimed professional bathroom singer and believes that caffeine runs through her veins. This adrenaline junkie loves to pen down a million thoughts gushing through her mind at any instant and is very vocal about LGBTQ rights.


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