Man, this week really kicked my ass struggling to say NO or ‘Not right now’ to a client! I jammed up my calendar so badly that I sat on my couch nursing my wounds with 2 Crown Royal Vanillas and Diet Coke! Hahahahah! I know you feel my pain here. If you are one of those people that have trouble saying no and your hand shoots up when something cool is suggested, you know exactly what I’m talking about here.

Working on the Right Stuff

So many of us are overwhelmed with work and life and we wind up doing this to ourselves (sad, I know). How do we stop the cycle? How do we say no to a client or a boss without coming across as insubordinate, manage the key things we need to get done AND keep our sanity?! At the end of the day, it’s about working on the right stuff, determining the best options for how to tackle the work and prioritizing it accordingly.


I want to share a technique with you (yeah, I’m not talking about the shampoo 😊) that I’ve used with folks forever. It’s called Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) and it’s typically used in the project management space. Here’s the thing. We can use this with our clients and our bosses too! The way it works is estimating the work in front of you (the tasks) and assigning a best-case effort estimate, a worst-case effort estimate or the middle of the road estimate. The formula does the work and tells you how long it will take. Here’s more about this technique and the formula: https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/it-consultant/use-pert-technique-for-more-accurate-estimates/.

Why should You Care?

I know, you’re like, ‘why do I care about this, Michelle?!’ Here’s why. What if you could take all the pieces and bits that your boss or your client gives you, estimate them and then prioritize them? What if you could use this as a tool to ask your boss or client what they need first and if they want you to rearrange what you were working on to ‘squeeze this in’? You can then show them how long something is going to take and ask them to tell you what is most important or if the priorities have changed. This is where the magic happens! Giving your boss or your client options and allowing them to make the decision on how you should proceed with the work. In the end, you aren’t really giving them a hard and fast NO; you are asking them to help you determine how best to tackle what you have on your plate without losing your mind. Now THAT is valuable!

Want More Stuff?

Check out these resources below as there are some great nuggets in here too! If you want the PERT spreadsheet that I use with folks, I’m happy to share it.

Send a note to michelle@bossibly.com and just let me know you’d like that resource!


What to do When You’ve Got Too Much to Do (Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand) – https://mindfulambition.net/big-rocks-first/

I especially like this bit:

‘The “Cram it in” Strategy Doesn’t Work

We often take the same approach in our lives that we do with our suitcases.

We already feel overwhelmed. Filled-To-The-Brim. But there’s more we want to do.’


The Working With… Podcast | Episode 31 | How To Prioritise Your Day – https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-a6egu-9363f5

At 4:20 minutes in, Carl talks about how we don’t take time out to determine what’s important to us. ‘When you don’t know what is important to you, the things of other people always become your priorities.’ He talks about owning your career, your happiness and development. If you don’t pay attention to where you want to go and what you want to learn, you won’t advance and you won’t take projects or roles that get you there.


5 Ways How to Say NO to Your Boss – GET YOUR TIME BACK!

‘Yes, what should I reprioritize?’ – THIS. IS. MONEY! If you only used that approach, you will go FAR with setting expectations with your boss or your client. 😊 I love the part about her saying use humor as I do that all of the time! So funny about the thermostat example. HAHAHAHA!

Let’s have a conversation, just you and me! You can schedule a time here. There is no cost. This is not a sales call masquerading as a strategy call. I just want to support you. The topic is up to you.

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