Managing your workload

Learn to say no.

Do you have a hard time saying no? Or have you ever found yourself with more work than time and wondered what happened? You’re not alone. Fortunately, good communication can help you manage your workload avoid these situations. Here’s how:

  • First, take stock of your own abilities. Are you someone who thrives on deadlines? Do you enjoy being busy? Or does a slower steady pace appeal to you? Knowing your work habit preferences can help you accept, turn down or prioritize projects and take on a doable workload.
  • Second, make an inventory of your current workload. What are you working on now? What’s on the horizon? How much can you realistically take on given what you know is in the pipeline, while still providing yourself some cushion for unexpected errors and delays?


  • Learn to say no. Most supervisors—and certainly clients—would prefer to know up front if you don’t have time to take on a new project. If they can see you’re genuinely too busy to give their work the attention it deserves, they can make other plans to get the task done.
  • Learn when to ask for help. If, despite your best efforts, you still find yourself underwater with projects, tasks and commitments don’t be afraid to ask for help. Odds are other members of the team can pitch in with your workload.
  • Learn when to throw in the towel. While it’s embarrassing to have to withdraw from a project, it’s better to do so than to drag out an assignment with a supervisor or client over an extended period of time. Still, this is a last resort that should be avoided at all costs.

With some proper planning and self-reflection, managing your workload becomes doable. These steps can help even the most disorganized among us assess what’s feasible, and what’s simply unrealistic.

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