Stop saying yes to stuff you know you can’t get done

So often we hear people blaming the fact that they have too much work on for too many things. I have to work late, I have to work weekends, family is suffering, can’t exercise, blah blah blah…

What actually happened? They basically said yes to work they couldn’t get done. And what’s worse, they probably knew they couldn’t get it done when they said yes, or they had no idea about whether or not they could get it done because they had no concept of their current capacity. Either way – yikes!

At our very core we are all people pleasers who love saying yes. While this might feel very noble and helpful at the time, it’s often the nemesis of achieving your goals.

It also becomes incredibly frustrating to other people when you don’t deliver. So while saying yes might feel good at the time, when you don’t actually deliver on your what you promised, your personal brand takes a serious dive. Do this on a repeated basis and people will struggle to trust you.

Let’s put the boot on the other foot for a moment. If you ask someone if they can take on some work for you and they say yes. How do you feel when they don’t get it done?

Wouldn’t you rather have known up front that they couldn’t do it?

If you want to be known as that person who always delivers, here are a few key things here are few key things to think about when you are considering saying yes to that next thing:

  • Ask yourself does it align with my goals / KPIs / current priorities?
  • Do you really know your capacity? Most people haven’t really thought about how long everything they are currently working on is likely to take them and so many people have a to-do list which has never met their calendar. It’s important to consider how long your current action items will take you, and schedule in your calendar when you are going to work on these. Otherwise you are flying blind in terms of knowing whether or not you can realistically take on anything else at that time.
  • Focus on why it needs to be done and get to the root of the actual outcome. This will help decide whether it could be done in a different way which might take fewer resources or whether it needs to be done at all. Always be asking what’s the minimum input to get the outcome.
  • Prioritise – or get someone else to prioritise for you. If it does genuinely need to be done, and we’ve worked out the easiest way to get the outcome, now we can decide whether it gazumps the current workload. Does it push something else out or does it join the back of the queue? And you might not have to decide this on your own. Push back to others around you to determine which tasks should take priority.
  • Set boundaries – get clear about how you want to work and work somewhere where those boundaries are ok. Your to-do list will just keep growing if you keep saying yes – it’s on you to draw the line.

You might think that saying no is the worst thing…..nope…..saying yes you can do something and then not getting it done by the due date……that’s the worst!! You don’t want to be that person.

If you would like to discuss accountability to achieve deliverables in your company or team, please contact us to book your 45 min complimentary Performance Call.