Feeling stressed at work, tired, under the pump and like you are always playing catch-up despite your best intentions no matter how hard, or how smart you work? Don’t worry; you are not alone, in today’s fast paced world it seems everything needs to be done yesterday.
So if you’ve over-committed yourself to a deadline you know you aren’t going to make then check out these 4 tips on how to ask for an extension without getting knocked back, or worse gaining a reputation around work for being ‘the unreliable one’.
As soon as you know you’re not going to make the deadline, hell, even at the first indication you may be short on time, ask! Don’t leave approaching the required person to a few days before the project is due, it’s rude and make’s you look disorganised and unable to take initiative on your own.
Ask yourself how important is this deadline to my business, or client? If I miss it, will it affect funding, or a business deal? How far ranging are the repercussions for my business and/or client if it’s not completed on time?
Sometimes you can roll over a deadline by a few days if it’s non-urgent, but either way you need to get permission first.
DON’T: “I’m a bit behind schedule and could really use a few more days”.
DO: “Is there any deadline flexibility for this task?”, or “I’ve made a note of the May 15th deadline in my calendar, but can you please remind me whether it’s a rock-solid deadline, or if we’re aiming for middle of the month?”
Okay, so you’ve managed to weasel out permission for a work extension. Now don’t blow it! You may be tempted to say “oh just another 24 hours will do” as you don’t want to push your luck, but be realistic.
Make sure you’ve thought about exactly how much time you really need to finish the task properly, if it’s another 3 days or a week then say so and explain why. It may just be a case where your manager is unfamiliar with the type of project or task you need to accomplish and simply hasn’t allocated you enough time to reasonably be able to complete it. By explaining the situation, the steps involved and what exactly has been hampering you. You may just come to an understanding which will benefit you for when future deadlines are set.
Try to avoid missing deadlines in the future as extensions will become less and less likely. However, if you keep feeling over-worked and unable to keep up with your workload then it might not be you, it may be the work is just too much.
If you feel this is the case then go to the source and speak to your client, boss or manager and explain what’s going on and where you’re coming from. The chances are that if you feel over-worked and stressed, so do other colleagues.