Shirley's Articles / Communication Skills and Building Relationships

Saying No At Work

Do you ever feel like your workload is full to the brim, that taking a break is not an option? Do you go home stressed, knowing that what you haven’t done today will have to be done tomorrow? Have you ever felt frustrated when your boss approaches you with yet another task on top of an already busy workload?

Even though you feel over worked, something inside you just can’t say no. In this competitive job market, you value your job. You want to come off as agreeable, competent, hard working and capable. But what if you can only do the task with half the attention it requires? What if it’s finished quickly but with mistakes? What if you are too busy to get it finished on time, or at all?

When you take on more than you can handle, you are endangering your reputation!

You need to learn to say no. If you feel like you are at capacity, taking on yet another task is not only hurting you, but also your boss and the company you work for. The truth is, sometimes saying no would actually be doing everyone a favour. It gives the opportunity to someone else who could give proper attention to it, or possibly it is a signal that the company needs to hire another individual, opening up a job.

You don’t have to be overly assertive. Keep it simple, and be sure to explain what it is you are currently working on, how it is filling your time, and why it needs your attention. Your employer should appreciate your honesty and dedication to finishing the project.

Taking care to not over work or stress yourself out will make you more productive and efficient. And also, everyone has a limit. Employers or colleagues cannot know what your limit is unless you tell them.

The next time you are being tossed yet another task when your plate is full, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Do yourself and the company a favour, and say no.

All articles are copyright © Shirley Taylor. All rights reserved. This information may not be distributed, sold, publicly presented, or used in any other manner, except as described here.

Permission to reprint all or part of any article in your magazine, e-zine, website, blog or organisation newsletter is granted, as long as:

  1. The entire credit line below is included*.
  2. The website link to is clickable (live)**.
  3. You send a copy, PDF, or link of the work in which the article is used when published.

This credit line must be reprinted in its entirety to use any articles by Shirley Taylor:

* Credit line:
© Shirley Taylor.
Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

** The website link to must be clickable to receive permission to reprint the article.