Organizing your time effectively at work can be difficult at the best of times, when others impose with requests and time constraints that interfere with your work – you need to learn to say no. Whether it’s because of poor planning on a co-worker’s part or an understanding that their objectives are more important than your own – co-workers who make last-minute requests of your time regardless of your schedule are problematic.
Sadly, this is a common experience at organizations of all kinds, and it represents disrespect for you, your time, and your work. When this behavior is constant, you are dealing with a time bully.
Depending on your status and position at your job, you may not be in the best position to refute these types of requests, and no matter what your status is the reality is that all employees need to be flexible and adaptive to a certain extent – and emergencies also happen that require the help of co-workers. Yet, if the actions of a coworker are continuously infringing on your own work, it might be time to try one of these tips for dealing with time bullies:
Make sure they understand the situation you are in. It might be that they don’t realize what they are doing, try communicating that you will do your best to help them but you have to finish other priorities first, so you may not be able to accommodate them as they ask.
Make it clear how much notice you need. Especially if the type of work you are being asked to do is very similar, make it clear to your co-workers how much notice you will need to help them in the future.
Respect Yourself. You set the precedent for how you will be treated. Sometimes all that is needed to earn the respect of others is to show them you respect yourself – in this case, by setting boundaries.
Make a request to leadership. Consider requesting a more standardized way of ensuring everyone has a reasonable amount of time to complete their work. Research has shown that this can be highly effective in creating a better company culture by making sure that no one is unnecessarily stressed, overloaded, or pressed for time.