You’re busy that week. I can do that if you want. We’re available on Tuesday. I’m still working on it.
These phrases are not harmless. They actually make more work! They lob the tennis ball from one person back to the original person (those of you that are familiar with the One-Minute-Manager and the Monkey know this territory)
If I need to be scheduled next week and am told “you’re busy that week” now I have to do more work, such as say “move something around” or “push it to the next week”.
If you say you “can do that”, then I have to do the work of instructing you to proceed.
If you’re available on Tuesday, does that mean you WANT me to book you for it?
If you’re “still working on that”, you’re making the other person have to take the next step with asking for an expected completion time.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP for the other person.
Instead of “you’re busy that week”, say “you’re busy that week. How about I move your ____ meeting to the following week and squeeze this one in?”
Instead of “I can do that”, say “I can do that, unless you tell me otherwise I’m going to start on that right now.”
Instead of “I’m available on Tuesday”, say “I’m available on Tuesday, I’m going to put us down for 9am, ok?”
Instead of “I’m still working on it” say “I’m still working on it, around __% done, I expect to be done around ____pm”
How do you know you’re making less work for the other person? The only response they have to give you is “ok” or “yes” – or if you’re really good, no response at all. Then you’ll know you’re making less work. The sooner you make less work for your boss, the sooner the promotions come.