Take On Only What You Can Handle

  August 21, 2017

American billionaire Warren Buffett once said: “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

Consistently complete projects accurately and on time, and you’ll gain a reputation as someone employers can count on.

If you’re still considering whether to work all hours under the sun, think again:

  • Productivity plummets if you have to work over 50 hours/ week. (Stanford, 2014)

  • Meanwhile, sleeping well greatly improves your memory, attention, and even your weight control.

    The lesson in this article:  

    Do not take on more than you can handle in an attempt to please others. If you accept a task, do it well and deliver on time.

If your boss asks you to complete multiple tasks in a short space of time and you’re concerned about getting everything done on time, ask this question: “Which tasks are most important?”

Instead of reacting from emotion to a request that seems overwhelming – “How could ANY human being POSSIBLY get all that done in time???” – it’s best to demonstrate that you’ve thought carefully about the tasks assigned to you, and are working toward a solution.

You may say, “Well, I’ve looked at everything we need to complete and it comes to about nine hours. Once we decide which task is the top priority and agree on a suitable timeframe for completion, I’ll begin work right away.

A good boss should find this approach helpful. It demonstrates that:

  • You’ve listened to all requests

  • You’re aiming to work effectively

  • You’re a strong problem solver


Even well-intentioned bosses get caught up in what has to be achieved and forget what is reasonable to expect from any one employee. In these cases, managers need guidance from the person actually doing the work: YOU!

You’ll discover your capacity for work in the real world, and it’ll be plenty.

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