First of all, if you’re talking to a manager, they will love you if you stop saying “nah I can’t do that” and start saying “I have X and Y on my plate right now and I think I could do Z for you if you and my manager think I should drop Y for it. What do you think has higher priority?”

By phrasing your “no” this way, you’re setting up the conversation for a collaborative tone, you’re recognizing that everything can be traded off, and you’re helping the requester understand what levers they have to work with. Say no with context

When and how to say no at work
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