Helping people feels good and it’s easy to say yes to helping others; however, it’s not always the best course of action. Of course, this happens very often in the work environment where you and your overworked coworkers need more time to complete tasks. If you keep saying yes to people it might be time to practice ways to say no. Saying no to your coworkers can help you, but it also helps your manager understand people are overworked and will help your coworkers understand boundaries.
7. Use the words “You are welcome to X. I am willing to Y.”
For example, “You are welcome to borrow my car. I am willing to make sure the keys are here for you.” By this you are also saying, “I won’t be able to drive you.” You are saying what you will not do, but you are couching it in terms of what you are willing to do. This is a particularly good way to navigate a request you would like to support somewhat but cannot throw your full weight behind. I particularly like this construct because it also expresses a respect for the other person’s ability to choose, as well as your own. It reminds both parties of the choices they have.