Work: How to say No?

(17 Posts)
WheelyCoteClaus Sat 15-Dec-18 10:58:04

I'm part of a team that has priorities that mean they are my priorities too.

I also have a seperate role that has priorities too.

Usually I can manage the priorities of both roles but recently I'm sinking. I'm in the process of completing a project that requires procedures tweaked, meetings to smooth the project into the organisation. I also have monthly admin that shares information.....which is part of an agreement made with people who require this information too. (This is written in stone)

I'm finding that when, I clear time to complete the 2nd roles extra stuff. My team will contact me, seeing blank space and telling me I need to do team priority because the team are stretched. I do. Then I fall behind. The month work roles into next month and next month. I get people contacting me wondering why I haven't done x,y and z.

When I say no to the team with reason and transparent time allocation.....I am told I'm not a team player, not managing time effectively, not doing as much as everyone else, difficult. sadsadsadsadsad

I'm back in the cycle of falling behind and on a day off thinking of working so I'm not overwhelmed through the week.

My manager is not supportive

Any advice appreciated. The job feels like a poison chalice

OP’s posts: |
m0therofdragons Sat 15-Dec-18 11:03:31

Can you block our time in your calendar so it's clear what is being worked on?

redexpat Sat 15-Dec-18 11:07:08

Allocate time in your calendar for 2nd role priority stuff. Allocate time for dealing with your team.

sackrifice Sat 15-Dec-18 11:09:17

Speak to your line manager and ask what proportion of your week goes to each team. 50:50, 30:70 etc.

Mark out your time in outlook to reflect this.

Put all the tasks for the upcoming week, colour coded, in the appropriate days, with the time spans that reflect the time each task will take.

If the tasks go over the time you have, take the tasks to the team leader and ask them to prioritise the tasks and re-assign the ones that you cannot do in the time you have.

Keep doing it, every week.

ScreamingValenta Sat 15-Dec-18 11:10:53

I was going to say the same as the previous poster - don't leave blank spaces in your calendar.

Assuming you are working efficiently and to capacity, it simply sounds as though you have too much on your plate and someone else needs to take on some of your responsibilities - perhaps those in relation to the second team.

If your manager doesn't accept this, you might need to spend some time logging what you do and the time it takes, as evidence that your workload just won't fit into your agreed working hours.

If you are challenged as to your time management or speed of working, you need to throw the challenge back to them: 'Can you tell me what I need to do differently to be able to complete this work in the time I have?' If your manager can't offer any suggestions, then s/he will be forced to acknowledge there's an issue.

GemmeFatale Sat 15-Dec-18 11:14:41

Love the suggestions above.

I’d also change your calendar settings. At the moment it seems everyone can see the details of your appointments and think that gives them the right to decide their task for you is more important. Change your calendar settings so they can see if you’re busy or available, but not the details of what you’re busy with. Our whole team did this with one particularly obnoxious person who liked to tell us we were prioritising wrong.

MarklahMarklah Sat 15-Dec-18 11:17:12

You need to have some sort of shared diary or other visible reminder so your team can see what time you have allocated to what tasks.
Make sure your team are aware that you're working on other things in the 'free' time that you're not with them.

WheelyCoteClaus Sat 15-Dec-18 11:21:37

We have a shared diary. I block out time in this diary and state what I'm doing.

When I do say no, I get:

- the teams priorities trump that of the 2nd role,
-there's no one else to do x,y and z
- that I'm the only person who says no.
- speak to manager

I end up feeling like shit because the last thing I want to do is let the team down, be difficult.

I'm thinking of refusing to attend and carry out the monthly information sharing because I haven't been able to complete the work from previous months. In hope that my other bosses will go to my team manager.

When I've gone to my team manager (many times both rationally and in a complete blubbing state) she's finally given me 4 hours to complete the work. The work is at least 7.5hrs long. I've streamlined it, cut rubbish out but I can't get the task below 7.5hours.
Her replies are that I'll just have to figure it out.

This is one area. I will be leaving the job in about 6 months once I know the project ive worked a few years on is fully operational. I want it on my cv. I did alot of this work in my own time, without team, manager support or guidance.

OP’s posts: |
WheelyCoteClaus Sat 15-Dec-18 11:22:37

Sorry crossed posts with your replies, I'll quickly catch up xx

OP’s posts: |
GemmeFatale Sat 15-Dec-18 11:32:57

It’s already on your CV. Start looking now.

SpoonBlender Sat 15-Dec-18 11:37:49

Block time out in the calendar for your own planning work.

Delegate - hand out tasks at meetings instead of taking them yourself.

Skip or cancel meetings that aren't actually useful.

Talk about stuff with your boss - a good 1 to 1 can solve a whole load of pain, if they can identify someone useful and appropriate to include.

The phrase "That's out of scope" can be used to ditch/defer stuff to after the project completes the first delivery. In tandem with "and including it will stretch the timeline, if you're okay with that then let's replan" and do that immediately to show how much time it stretches things by.

Instead of asking for approval to do things, ask for objections to the already planned steps. This often avoids lollygagging spectators sticking their oar in with "we should do it like this" or "also include X", and is much much quicker - gets a task signed off immediately. And then allocate that task to someone who isn't you.

Ah, project management. Such fun. Glad it's only a third of my job now.

sackrifice Sat 15-Dec-18 11:37:57

Agreed. Start applying now.

WheelyCoteClaus Sat 15-Dec-18 11:44:57

GemmeFatale your right. It's hard to let go of something I've worked hard on and will make a difference but it's up and running. Granted, there's room for improvement and needs to be written into policies and procedures...but your right I already do have it in my CV. I'll update my CV and start looking

Sackrifice I've been told there's only 15 hours allocated to the second role but if the team needs me in this time that will change...with the view that some weeks I may get more than 15 hours. With cutbacks, sicknesses and annual leaves....the 15 hours doesn't happen in the slightest. I work 50 hour weeks

OP’s posts: |
WheelyCoteClaus Sat 15-Dec-18 11:53:50

Oops pressed send too quick lol

Sackrifice I'll try that with Outlook as my team manage and other organisation managers will beable to see.

The team use a paper diary and a software diary. It's the software diary that looks blank and accessed the easiest by everyone. I can't write tasks in the software diary but I can in the paper diary that the team coordinator of the day manages

After getting pulled up a few months ago and being in shock that I was being told I wasn't working hard enough, being a difficult team player...
I was so shocked I didn't have anything to come back with. I even said to team manager..,,,I don't know what to say to you because I know I'm working flat out, in my own time, have been cutting the dead wood from tasks. This is when I was given 4 hours.

I'll never be in that position again. I now keep a 'daily activity tracker' everything gets written in. Including the length of time things have taken me. Including brief end of week..,,what's worked, what hasn't and a new plan for following week (do this but in my own time, so as not to be accused again.

If I'm ever in a meeting like that again, I'll be ready to throw evidence back at them with detail.

OP’s posts: |
WheelyCoteClaus Sat 15-Dec-18 11:58:15

Spoon, I'll use those terms thankyou

I like the....does anyone have any objections.

OP’s posts: |
sackrifice Sat 15-Dec-18 12:04:52

Stop working 50 hour weeks.

Work your actual hours.

Keep putting it back to them to prioritise.

Do you use outlook at work? If you don't have your own electronic diary, then use your own paper one, even if you have to use post it notes with hours it will take to do the task, so that you can show people how your time is being used.

I use outlook, I am currently working across 2 teams, all my different themes are colour coded and anyone can see what I have in there as it is open to anyone. I plan my weeks well in advance, and when everyone is off next week, I'll be planning in the next 6 months work as I am starting in a new role in Jan. All my tasks are in there as blocks, i rarely have any time not blocked out as something or other.

SpoonBlender Sat 15-Dec-18 20:56:06

Definitely work 9-5 or whatever and don't stretch it. This is your health that's at risk.

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