The ultimate productivity hack is saying “No”

In our achievement-oriented world, the pressure to never say no is constant. Regardless of how much we juggle work deadlines, social commitments, and personal life, we often feel obligated to respond when someone demands our attention during our…

June 2, 2024

In our achievement-oriented world, the pressure to never say no is constant. Regardless of how much we juggle work deadlines, social commitments, and personal life, we often feel obligated to respond when someone demands our attention during our private time. In the constant rush of productivity, we often neglect our physical and mental health and it ultimately starts to decline when we fail to take care of ourselves.

Have you ever questioned if the key to success and true productivity lies not in doing more, but in doing less? Let’s explore this idea in our blog with Savaira.

Power of saying “NO”

As responsibilities pile up in both our personal and professional lives, it becomes important to adopt effective strategies to manage our time and energy while maintaining our overall well-being. Among the many productivity hacks, one of the most powerful yet often overlooked is the simple act of saying "No."

Remember, saying "no" doesn't mean turning down everything. It's about thinking smart about where you invest your time and energy. Ask yourself, are these commitments really worth it? Think about those endless meetings that seem unnecessary, but held out of routine. And how often do people ask you to do things they could do themselves? It's like everyone expects a "yes" without considering your workload. But here's the catch: when you finally decline, some might not like it. It might feel like a step back. But in reality, you're taking charge of your time and energy.

Reality behind our most “YES”

The truth is, when we consistently say "yes" to everything, we ultimately hurt ourselves, which is unfair. It's important to recognize that saying no isn't about being rude, selfish, or uncooperative, rather a wise decision. However, we continue to say yes and the price we pay is often our mental health and personal time.

Here are some common reasons why we say yes:

  • Feeling obligated: Many of us feel pressured to say yes to avoid appearing rude or selfish. For instance, in the workplace, if a coworker asks for a favour like completing their tasks, we feel obligated to agree since we interact with them daily.
  • Relationship compromise: Sometimes, we say yes to maintain relationships, as is often the case in Pakistan, where many girls feel compelled to accept marriage proposals because they don't have a choice, which highly impacts their mental health and happiness.
  • Seeking approval: We often seek approval from others, leading us to say yes even when we're uncertain. For instance, we may dress to please those around us rather than expressing ourselves how we truly want to.
  • Societal & parental expectations: Saying yes is often considered polite. For instance, in Pakistani culture, there's a heavy pressure on children to pursue careers as doctors or engineers, often disregarding their own passions or interests such as music or art. Leading to various mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, stress, low self esteem etc.
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO): We worry that saying no might mean missing out on good things.
Nobody embodies it better than Steve Jobs, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it's all about. It's saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully."

Saying “NO” - A mental health advantage

Restricting yourself to excessively people-pleasing can be good for your mental health in both work and personal life. When you say no, you set boundaries and prioritise your well-being.

In work, it helps prevent burnout by managing your workload effectively. Saying no at work shows you respect your time, energy, focus and capabilities. In personal life, saying no allows you to focus on what truly matters to you, reducing stress and resentment. It means you're prioritising yourself.

Click here to read our self-care blog to learn more about how to take care of yourself.

Wrapping up

So, It's okay to decline things that don't align with your values or goals. Saying no doesn't mean you're selfish; it means you're taking care of yourself.

Remember, saying no is not selfish, it's self-care.

If you struggle with saying no and managing your mental health, consider seeking professional help. Contact Savaira for a mental health consultation or join our workshops to learn valuable strategies for stress management and mental well-being.