March 2, 2011 / 2:19 PM / 8 years ago

Management Tip of the Day: Accepting impossible assignments

BOSTON (Reuters) - If you’re burning out, undoubtedly you’re aware of it, and it could be the upshot of taking on challenging project after challenging project, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and ( Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

“The reward for accomplishing a high-profile project in a short timeframe is often another challenging project with an even tighter timeline. Taking on increasingly impossible assignments will cause you to burn out, fail, or both.

Next time your manager recruits you for that project only you can get done, ask for a few days to think it over. Use that time to plan the project, identify the resources you’ll need, and predict bottlenecks.

Be realistic with your plan; don’t assume you or your team will work 80-hour weeks. Then, share it with your boss. Explain what you won’t be able to do as a result of working on this assignment and negotiate for the extra resources you need.

Be sure to document the agreement by sending a follow up email so that you can renegotiate if resources get pulled or deadlines get tightened.”

-Today’s management tip was adapted from “How to Avoid Impossible Assignments” by Priscilla Claman.

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