2 Ways to deal with a boss that gives you extra work

Do you have a boss that keeps adding work to your “already full plate” making you feel stressed and overwhelmed at work? 

Bosses often do it because they are busy and probably overworked too and have to delegate some of their tasks…

…but can you say “no” to your boss? 😱  This 2 letter word is quite intimidating and you could be in trouble for saying it, or look uncooperative to your boss’s eyes.

Here is my first way to solve your problem:

1) Negotiate with your boss:

  • tell them what you’re already dealing with;
  • show them your diary for the day, and ask your boss if they want you to drop one of the tasks on your diary and take this new one on board;
  • tell your boss that the task you are dropping will have to be dealt with by someone else if it must be done today, or that you can take care of it another day.

Here is an exmple of how the conversation could go:

BOSS  <Hey, can you please have a look at a new printer for our office?>

YOU  <Hi [name] thank you for thinking of me for this task, I would really like to help you with this, but at the moment I’m handling a customer complaint due to a missed delivery yesterday.
Later on I have to prepare the agenda for the next department meeting, and I’m supposed to spend some time with the new starter to teach him how the system works.
Would it be ok if somebody else took care of the agenda for me, or any other task? In that case I’ll have enough time to look at a possible new printer. Is that ok?>

At this point your boss will either tell you that the “printer task” is not urgent right now, and that you can deal with it another day, or she/he will assign one of your current tasks to someone else.

In both cases you won’t be overwhelmed with yet another task to do. Which is great!

BUT what if your boss is the type of person that you cannot negotiate with?  😥

Some bosses don’t actually care how busy you are (they really should in my opinion, because overworking employees doesn’t lead to anything good…but that’s another story), and if they tell you to do something they expect you to do it.

So, here is my second way to solve your problem:

2) Plan better:

  • block some amount of time in your diary for those extra tasks that you might get from your boss;
  • does your boss come and ask for your help at specific times of the day? Keep yourself less busy during those times of the day if possible;
  • does your boss work slightly different hours than you? Tackle the most important tasks on your to-do list when your boss is not around, so if you get busier later during the day your “Must-do tasks” are already done;
  • make your plans flexible: have tasks in your daily to-do lists that are not urgent, so you can move them to a different day and make space for more urgent ones.

So here they are, two ways to help you deal with a boss that gives you extra work and avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

Do you have a boss like that? What’s your way of dealing with extra work? I would like to hear your story, email me at sara@hodostraining.com

PS: If you are a manager there is a 3rd way to deal with the above problem, which is “get better at delegating to your staff”.

I have made delegation nice and easy for managers like you with a proven 8 steps process, which is key to reduce as much as possible the chances of delegation going wrong, or of your staff failing you when you delegate tasks to them. 

If you are a manager and want to know all about it, or if you think your team of managers could really benefit from this, get in touch with me at sara@hodostraining.com or book a free call with me here. Let’s chat about it!

Credit: Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich