No matter how you choose to approach your career, no one wants to stay in the office past closing time just to finish their regular workload. But there are some tricks to managing how you communicate with others to make sure that you can get out of work on time and can balance your career and personal life in a healthier way. Communication is often missing a link to ensuring that everyone better understand direction and time management. Here are some things you should not say if you want to clock out on time.
Don’t use “end of day” as a deadline.
When asking for a deadline or telling someone when your task will be completed, don’t use nebulous terms such as “end of day.” This time frame can mean different things to different people, so it’s possible that for one person it would be at closing time for another it might be before they go to bed that night. If you need something on time, communicate exactly what time works for your schedule.
Same thing goes for “as soon as possible.”
Another term that you need to eliminate when discussing your timeframes at work is “as soon as possible.” ASAP can also mean a lot of things to a lot of people. It also creates a sense of urgency, which if handled poorly, can lead to unsatisfactory work. Instead, ask what is a reasonable time to complete the project.
Don’t give unrealistic time frames.
Many people believe in the “under promise, over deliver” tactic when communicating about timeframes. In some cases, this can work well because you become the hero that can complete a four-hour project in three. But it can backfire. Don’t automatically give unrealistic time frames, especially times that might be too short. Make deadlines a conversation when possible.
Saying it’ll be quick is often a lie.
We’ve all had this happen. Someone says, “Hey, can you help me with this? It’ll only take a second.” Nothing ever takes a second. Don’t say it and when someone says it to you, ask them for clarification. Don’t offer “quick,” or “two seconds” when you ask for help or communicate a time frame.
Do you really have to be somewhere?
Here’s one we all do, but it can become a “cry wolf” scenario if used too often. When someone asks you if you can help them or if you can finish a task that you don’t want to do, you might say, “I’m sorry, I can’t. I have to be somewhere.” You may even be specific about where you’re going to be. Instead, communicate why you can’t help right this second but offer a timeframe that does work for your schedule.
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