2 min read

Asking for more time is not a sign of weakness

Your boss wants high-quality work and that takes time. Ask for it.
Asking for more time is not a sign of weakness
Photo by Abdul A / Unsplash

How I Quit Burnout issue #26 (Get it in your inbox next Tuesday)

My story

Sorry to do this but let’s visualize a situation at work. Your boss asks you to prepare something for them by the end of the week. You cancel your evening plans as you work into the evening to finish it. When you go to deliver it, you can tell they forgot they even asked you to do it. Worse, you know they didn't actually need it by the end of the week. Neat.

But what if instead of blindly accepting deadlines as they are presented, you probed to understand the reasoning? Some things at work absolutely have unmovable deadlines. But some are flexible. The problem is, we’re afraid to ask.

As this Harvard Business Review study found, there’s surprising acceptance in asking for more time. Bosses would rather wait a little longer for higher quality work.


1-2-3 steps

  1. Attempt to set the deadline first  //  Try to avoid asking for more time initially by making the first move in establishing a deadline so your boss has an understanding of how much time it’s likely to take.
  2. Negotiate the deadline if needed  //  If the established deadline is sooner than feels reasonable, share the pros and cons to that deadline so your boss knows what they are settling for with that deadline.
  3. Ask for more time, appropriately  //  Ask for more time upfront if you’re squeezed. Share that the extra time will allow for higher quality thought and more seamless work. Just be careful not to get into a habit of always asking for more time and be sure to ask for it early on. It’s not going to go over well if you ask for an extra week the day before a deadline.  

How to know you’re on the right track

  • You have a strong understanding of how long something will take so you can visualize an appropriate deadline
  • You consider creating documentation that outlines the minimum time required so it’s understood by your leadership
  • You understand that just because something can be done in a certain amount of time doesn’t mean it should so you’re not burned out for the following assignment
  • You don’t feel inferior asking for more time, you feel empowered
  • You’re not trying to be difficult, you’re trying to ensure high-quality work is delivered which is what everybody wants in the end

My How I Quit Burnout playbook features four chapters: Downsize work  // Make work, work (we are here) // Build your boundaries // Unprogram your well-being


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it. But I had to create a brand new playbook for doing so.

That's what How I Quit Burnout is. My step-by-step playbook for quitting burnout without leaving your corporate job.

Is this work improving your life? The greatest gift you can give me is sharing

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