Is your work overwhelming you? Is the thought of what you have to do enough to produce a supersized TUMs request? I was recently talking with a business professional who is getting worn out at work. She works for a wonderful manager who also happens to be demanding. She’s at wits end from the workload. What can she do? Plenty.
Just imagine you were going to a doctor’s appointment. You knew you had to leave your office at 4.00 PM to be on time for your appointment. At 3.45 your boss starts a discussion with you on a project. You tell him that you have a doctor’s appointment and need to leave the office at 4. The clock strikes 4 and your boss is still talking. You sit there fuming and you continue the conversation. Fortunately, you are able to dash out of the office late and still make the appointment. Later, you get angry with yourself for letting your boss disregard your request and respect your time. Getting walked on is one behavior that has got to stop. You have to be the one to stop it. Here’s how. I was in the same position. I worked for a great manager who I respected enormously. At the time, software was entering business in a big way. We worked together on projects to automate various business processes. Software was my passion, but my job responsibilities were in sales. I enjoyed helping my boss. The occasional request for assistance for my help became a weekly requirement. Despite working for him one day a week on his projects, my sales requirements were not lowered. I was being challenged to meet my sales goals with 20% less time. I was stressed. I kept thinking about all the work I had to do for my sales territory and my boss’s projects as well. I couldn’t sleep at night. I began to get stomachaches. I finally realized I had to do something. What did I do? I finally spoke up. I made an appointment with my boss. I told him, "I really enjoy working for you. I like helping you on your projects. Here’s my problem. I have sales goals, too. You have me working 20% less time on my sales territory because I’m working on your projects. Yet you haven’t lowered my sales goals. It’s really stressing me out." He replied, "I had no idea." What then happened was that we adjusted the time I spent on his projects and when the next year’s goals were planned we adjusted for my time spent on other projects. If you have a problem at work, you have to speak up. People --and that’s especially managers--can’t read your mind. The ones who monopolize your time have no clue about it, either. You have to tell them. That’s the only way to make it stop, too. What you have to do when you have this conversation is be specific. Know the projects you are working on. Know how much time it takes. That way when your boss gives you two more projects to complete, you can say, "I’ve got 20% of my time on Project A and 30% of my time on Project B, 30% on Project C and 20% on Project D. Which one should I delay or give up to accommodate the new project?" When you talk in specifics you can be less emotional. You give your manager a clear understanding of why you can’t take on more work. You only have 100% of your time to give to him. You are the one who knows where your time goes. I never penalize anyone for asking for more of my time. I’m the one who has to be protective over my work. There’s a skill to make that happen. You must learn to just say no. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Maura Schreier-Fleming is a sales strategist and founder of Best@Selling, a sales training and consulting company. She wrote Monday Morning Sales Tips and works with sales professionals who want to sell more and close more business.