Show Menu

Negotiating Workload Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


This checklist is designed to help relieve the stress of having an excessive workload. Learning to Say 'No' without causing offense or alienating your boss is a skill all successful managers develop.

Using a series of questions you will be able to identify which additional tasks you should incorp­orate into your workload and those you should politely decline. Always make sure that 100% of your attention is on defining exactly what the task entails. This will help you avoid being railroaded into accepting the task when distra­cted.

Not everyone plays fair! So make sure you give yourself time to make a considered decision before accepting or rejecting the task.

1. Create an Enviro­nment

Create an enviro­nment in which you can actively listening to the request
• Ask for a minute to finalize what you are working on before you talk.
• Remove distra­ctions find a quiet office or area to hold the conver­sation.
• Clear your mind of other issues so you can listen to what is being said with an open mind.

2. Ask questions to define

Ask questions to define:
• Exact requir­ements of the task - timesc­ales, resources & skills
• Objectives of the task.
• What goal is it fulfil­ling?
• Who is the task stakeh­older, i.e. who has an interest in it being performed.
• Who is the customer?
• How important is it to them?
• What level of urgency have they attached to it?
• What depend­encies does this task have?

3. Assess the level of impact the task

Assess the level of impact the task timescales and requir­ements will have on your current worklo­ad.
Use the type of grid our template 'Prior­itizing Tasks' has to compare the level of urgency and importance your current essential tasks have compared to the requested task. Highlight the latter so you can easily discern which of your existing tasks would be most affected and how.
Included within these criteria are your assessment of the following factors:
• Resources & Skills required
• Depend­encies
• Stakeh­older & Customer level of authority

4. Explain your reasons behind saying 'No'

Explain your reasons behind saying 'No'. Negotiate your workload from a point of knowledge:
• Explain the conflicts and inter-­dep­end­encies you have identi­fied.
• Outline the risks accepting the task would create and their level of accept­ability to the customer / stakeh­older.
• Where possible recommend an altern­ative approach. (This doesn't mean dumping it on a collea­gue).

5. If you are given no choice

If you are given no choice other than to accept the task then:
Make sure you commun­icate in the most approp­riate manner:
• Your unders­tanding of the task requir­ements.
• Impact on other key tasks your acceptance will have.