Do you struggle to say ‘no’ ?

We are social creatures. We want to fit in, be liked, and be helpful. So we put the happiness of others above our own. We choose to do things that make others happy, to help them out. We are also told that saying ‘yes’ will accelerate our careers, and so we say ‘yes’ to extra hours, optional meetings, to organizing team events. We stretch to support additional projects and random requests that come our way.

If done intentionally, putting the satisfaction of other people above ours is good. However, by failing to set healthy boundaries, we end up in situations where we have too many things to do, which do not necessarily add value to us. We end up being over-committed, tired, and stressed.

It is important to say ‘no’ because accepting requests without any filter takes time away from yourself, your goals, and the things most important to you. Here are 5 more reasons why saying ‘no’ is critical –

  • Working long hours consistently and struggling to meet your deadlines gets you anxious and wondering when something will fall through the cracks, and if you are good enough. This is not the frame of mind to deliver your best work in. Mistakes are inevitable!
  • When you feel that you have bitten off more than you can chew, you get frustrated. At such times, it is easy to get pulled into the internal dialogue about how people around you are not reasonable. As these stories take roots, you only get more frustrated and disengaged.
  • Many times, managers are not aware that their employees are working beyond capacity. They expect employees to speak up. If you are an experienced professional, your boss might assume you know how to put up healthy boundaries.
  • Some managers are workaholics and assume that you are as well. And, if they do not have responsibilities outside of their work, they may not realize what is possible for others in a reasonable workday. 
  • Last but not least, it takes time away from your family and loved ones.

Remember, by respectfully saying ‘no’ you show that you respect your time and understand your priorities. You come across as an assertive and balanced employee, and you give yourself the chance to navigate your life better.