Stop Saying Yes to Everything

I find way too often we say yes to things we don’t necessarily want to do. Even when our plates are filled it seems simpler to say yes to a coffee date, a work meeting, an extra chore or helping a friend, than it does to potentially let someone down. Most of the time, the people who we would be saying no to, are someone who we will see again; family, friends, co-workers, peers. It becomes difficult to let someone down, especially when they have been there for you in the past. However, this mindset of saying yes and continuously putting others above yourself can damage your productivity. From my personal experience, this past year was very overwhelming and anxiety-driven due to my inability to simply say no. I was nervous that I was letting others down or letting opportunities pass me by, so instead, I said yes to everything. I had so many commitments I started to burn out and my ability to excel started to slip in each area. However, I became trapped in the cycle, as backing out from commitments would’ve been worse than saying no in the first place. I had left myself with few options. That was a year of growth and I learned an important life lesson. No one can fault you for saying no, it doesn’t make you selfish and it doesn’t reflect poorly on your character. There’s a difference between helping someone in need and saying yes to be polite. It’s important to honour yourself and always be conscious of your priorities when someone asks you for something that will take your time or energy. Practicing this behavior will not only help your productivity and mental health, but can also contribute to achieving your goals. It’s difficult to save money if you feel compelled to say yes every time someone asks you to hang out. Similarly, it’s difficult to complete your homework if you’ve agreed to tutor five of your friends. Overall I’m not suggesting to be selfish and not help others; being compassionate and helpful are amazing characteristics to have. I am saying, however, to make yourself a priority because no one else will, and don’t let a people-pleasing mentality impede your success.