After the follow up questions in the comment section of the question for clarifications:
- You are "authorized" a "couple hours" a week between "Your" manager and "Their" manager
- Tasks A,B in list are within the time-frame allotted (as previous runs have gone)...
- Tasks C,D,..,Z in list are NOT within time-frame allotted.
- This list and tasks are in project Amal...
- You have deliverables with your time allotted in project Breadbasket and project Cornucopia.
The key to your answer is in the included information above.
Thank you for asking for my assistance in Project Amal. I'm always
more than happy to help.
As such, I will work on tasks A & B which will allow you and your team
to continue with tasks C through Z.
As much as I'd like to help with C through Z, my current schedule - as
arranged by Manager John and Manager Jane - doesn't give me the
bandwidth. The projects Breadbasket and Cornucopia are my priorities
after task A & B are completed.
If they come back with any further questions about "Why can't you do C through Z?" the answer is simple:
Unfortunately, I'm unable to help with that request at this time. My
manager John has authorized me 2 hours this week on project Amal in
coordination with your manager Jane. Any further time devoted to
project Amal will affect the time frame of Breakbasket and Cornucopia.
If you are unhappy with this, please feel free to have our managers
work together on a schedule more conducive to the needs of the
Personally, I wouldn't have any issues being more forthright (I'll pass my allotted time with those extra tasks and John will need to authorize more time.) but sometimes you have to dance around the topic to not offend sensibilities.
Side Note/Discussion points:
I wouldn't feel bad about saying "I'm too good for that" - in not those exact words.
I'm a programmer that gets paid $x/hour. Other tasks in the company are covered by people that get paid 1/2 to 1/3rd that rate - or less.
Can I hand code HTML, CSS, fix printer issues, trouble shoot virus problems, etc? Of course (not all programmers can mind you)... but I'm fully tasked and have deadlines. The company can also pay a fraction of what I cost to fix html and printers. They also have junior programmers that are paid less for the same reasons.
I'm not "too good" to do it... but I'm more valuable elsewhere.
There's a fine line between those two statements.
At my last job, I was more than willing to fix printers and debug broken computers when our PC Tech got fired... but it made me lag behind our other developers - making me less valuable in the long run - and it affected all of our deliverable elsewhere.
You can "slum it" with the lower level tasks if needed. You can also say "That's a bad investment of company resources". There are right times for both statements.
Personally? I'd bring up these points to management (I have 10 years of experience and get paid x... wouldn't you rather have the college graduate who gets paid x/3 to take care of those tasks?).
It's up to them to decide if you are worth it there or not.