Saying yes to every request for help can cause you to spread yourself too thin and become overwhelmed. When this happens, your productivity decreases and none of your tasks get your complete attention. While it’s natural to want to help others, it’s important that you don’t bite off more than you can reasonably handle.

When you are asked time and time again to take on another task at work, it’s easy to become buried under all the projects and deadlines that start to stack up. While it may be difficult to say no to a request from your supervisor, there are valid reasons why taking on more work just isn’t possible.

If you find yourself in a position where you need to refuse an assignment, plan on giving your boss a good explanation for your refusal. You want to be careful not to come across as being insubordinate or defiant but help your manager understand your other assignments.

If you don’t have enough time to work on a new project being assigned to you, present your current workload and deadlines to your supervisor. There is a possibility that he or she may not be aware of the number of tasks you are currently working on. If your boss wants you specifically handle the current project, perhaps he or she would be willing to reassign one of the jobs that are already on your list.

If you are worried that taking on an extra assignment will cause your current workload to suffer, express your concerns to your supervisor. Honesty is usually appreciated as well as a respect for not wanting to neglect your workload.

If you feel that you don’t have the necessary skill set to take on the project being asked of you, tell this to your boss. Pretending to be able to accomplish something that you realistically will not have the ability to do will set you up for bigger problems. Inquire about whether future projects will require the same knowledge. If your supervisor foresees similar work, perhaps you could be sent for training to accommodate future requests.

Remember, it is not always necessary to accept the requests that are asked of you. Understanding how to decline requests for help will enable you to better focus on your workload and not cause undue stress.

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