Three Ways To Turn Down Work Projects Without Dodging Your Responsibilities

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It feels awesome when you take on new projects and the pros to it are pretty obvious. You might be the first one to get promotion if others said no. But that isn’t the case always. Sometimes, you are too busy in other work assignments and you cannot take up projects which you know you wouldn’t be able to complete on time. So, instead of saying no, you agree to it so no one feels that you don’t help or that you aren’t a team player.

But, oh you, the miserable one, who has too much workload now and might need to take it home, (or maybe the stress) would feel the urge to push the deadlines and will not be able to submit it on time. Hasn’t this backfired? Was it worth spending overtime in office? You can avoid this by only improving your communication skill.

How to turn down work projects


“I won’t be able to give full attention as I am working on *insert another project*.”

You don’t need to turn it down right away when you can tell people how busy you are with other assignments. You can’t just throw a one-liner, “I am busy.” as they are not your best-friends asking you to hang out with them. They are your boss and colleagues and they need details to believe you or they would simply think that it’s your lack of interest or that you are just too lazy. Now, do you want them to think that way? Don’t you want to seem responsible enough?

On the other hand, in a rush, with a dull tone and shrugging you shoulders, don’t say “Whatever”, which will lead you to work all night inside your office for the next few days. It won’t do you any benefit rather you would end up showing poor results.  Let them realize that there is a lot on your plate already and that’s why you are unable to contribute. If by chance, you do finish the project sooner, you can ask them again and see if you could work on it.

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“I’m not as good in this skill as much as *insert another colleague’s name.”

Now, when someone approaches you alone, you can clearly say this if you don’t want to start up another project. Especially, if it’s a cool project, the other person might not feel that you got him stuck into something boring. This way you won’t be a jerk. If you are into office politics, you don’t need to be afraid of mentioning someone else. There is a good chance that you won’t be as good in some skill needed for the assignment as much as your colleague and you have less time to brush up or learn it, then you obviously must let them know how someone else would be more useful t them. Even a good suggestion for the project proves useful.
Also, when the other colleague gets to know that you mentioned their skill set to someone, they are going to like the gesture and might suggest your name when they are given future projects.

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“*Insert another person’s name* always helps me with this.

If people like taking your advice and they know no one is going to be better at something than you, you may refer a colleague saying that they have helped you a lot in previous projects. You have you show your interest and let your colleagues and boss know that you care, even if it’s diplomatic. Your team mates want you to pitch in and they would be disappointed if you straight away tell them that you don’t have time. It’s always better to give a suggestion or two, in order to show your concern. It might be golden if you always had time whenever asked but it’s not that feasible. So, try to tone down your language which still shows that you are dedicated, competitive and also helpful.

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