There are busy seasons at work – and there are times when you’re truly overwhelmed. When your plate is full, it helps to have a conversation with your boss. He or she may not know you’re feeling overloaded and can help you prioritize your projects or reduce your workload altogether.

When your boss tasks you with something, you can’t just say no, though. Liz Kislik, a management consultant and executive coach, says this is never a good idea. Instead, she recommends a few different approaches when you’re swamped at work. We share her suggestions in this issue of PromoPro Daily

Use the ineffectiveness counterargument. Maybe your boss hasn’t considered how your workload could impact clients or the rest of your team. Kislik recommends saying something like, “I’m concerned that the team won’t be able to handle this number of new initiatives, and clients will be unhappy with the lack of attention. We may even see some turnover in the team because they’re under so much pressure and worried about not being able to meet their commitments.”

Request support. Your boss won’t know you need help unless you bring it up. According to Kislik, you could approach the subject by saying, “I can get more time from some of my team members if we let them work remotely this week, but we’re going to need some time and expertise from the marketing department. Would you please prep them so that help is there when we need it?” 

Get personal. Transparency goes a long way. Be honest with your boss if you’re not sure how you’re going to get everything done. Kislik recommends saying, “I’m overloaded right now. Given the required meetings and reports every week, it’s too difficult to meet all of these simultaneous milestones. I’d like to chat about what adjustments we can make to the schedule/assignments.”

Let your boss choose. If your plate is totally full, make sure your boss knows what you’re working on. Then, let them decide what projects should be prioritized. Kislik suggests using a statement like, “I’m happy to get these new initiatives rolling. Just let me know which of these existing projects can be paused for now, and then we can put them back on the calendar as soon as we get these other things completed.”

Take a group stance. Are your colleagues feeling the pressure, too? If so, Kislik recommends a coordinated group stance by saying, “My fellow department heads agree that we’re trying to cover too much ground all at once. We’re going to meet on Thursday to map out ways we can handle this workload better, and we’d like you to join us so we can formalize a plan.”

If you’re overscheduled or overloaded at work, talk to your boss about it. When you come to your boss with some solutions already in mind, you can have a more productive conversation and better outcomes for all.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Liz Kislik is a management consultant and executive coach, and a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review and Forbes.