How Can You Say You've Got Too much Work in a Professional Way?



How Can You Say You've Got Too much Work in a Professional Way?

Have you ever had that? You work and you work to get it done, but your boss, colleague or customer just adds some more to the pile. If you work in the event industry, chances are pretty big you're familiar with this. It's not surprising that event managers are in the TOP 10 of most stressful professions. How do you deal with that?

 

Alexandra Franzen of career website The Daily Muse, knows how you can professionally state that you have a limited amount of time and that choices have to be made.

 

Boss or manager

Answer, if possible by email, as follows:

 

Okay, no problem. I can do this, but I would first like to discuss something with you before I start. At this moment, my priorities are: [make a list with your most urgent tasks]

 

Is the new task you've just assigned to me by top priority? No problem, of course, but then the other assignments in my list will be delayed and will be done a little later. If necessary, I can give you a timeline with the times I think I can see these matters done, if it helps.

 

Thanks!

 

Colleague

Answer, if possible by email, as follows:

 

Hey, of course I can help you with that. However, at the moment I'm working on another project which has the top priority. I have a deadline and really have to focus to see it all done. I will have some more time and space on [date/time]. Thanks for your understanding!

 

Customer

Answer, if possible by email, as follows:

 

Hello [name],

 

Thanks for your [message/visit]. I can most certainly help you with this, but first let's discuss the work I'm already doing for you right now. At the moment, that is: [make a list]. If we add this to the list, I shall have to invoice you for [amount X].

 

That will also mean that the planning we had agreed upon will have to be adjusted [indicate the new planning]. Are you okay with the new costs and the change in planning? If so, please let me know and I will see it done as soon as possible.

 

Be aware that:

  • You are wise to change the scripts above into your own vocabulary and writing style and the way people usually communicate within your company. You should also try to gauge how serious and urgent the request is, because in case of a real crisis, the answers above are probably not suitable.
  • In any case, try to show compassion to those who ask you to take more work on your hands, because they are probably pretty stressed out themselves as well.
  • Always try to be professional and polite in the way you communicate, even when your boss/colleague/customer isn't.

Try it, and you will see that the aforementioned techniques often work. And if they don't, then at least you have professionally indicated that you are working hard.

13-03-2015

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