By Marian Li, Toppel Peer Advisor 
Some people just can’t say no – to ANYTHING. We routinely overestimate the cost of saying no, but saying no isn’t as bad as you think! There have been studies that show the “inability to say no” syndrome is common! Saying no won’t cause the start of the apocalypse, but when you refuse, the person who made the request is likely to spend time trying to persuade you to change your mind. In our brains, that’s conflict and most people don’t like it. Sometimes we say yes just to avoid being rude. Or sometimes we’re afraid that we might miss an opportunity that might never be available again or burn a bridge and end a relationship – even a business relationship.
The Cost of being a Yes Person – All of these reasons make us totally human and are understandable. The inability to say no can make us popular or can lead to others taking advantage of our good nature. But there’s one thing for sure; if you can’t say no, you won’t be as productive. If you can’t say no to anyone, you may never be able to focus on things that matter to you. Let’s face it; if you’re helping all your colleagues with their tasks, you’re probably not doing yours. It can start a trend: if you keep helping others, they soon learn to come to you for help and they spread the word to others who, in turn, seek your help as well. It’s a slippery slope, the more people asking for help reduces the time to spend on your own work.
Maximizing Productivity – Instead of letting others distract you, you need to focus on saying no to distractions. The most productive people write down their most important tasks the night before. You’ll sleep better knowing your day is planned and, without knowing it, your mind will be focused on the task! The next day, start with the most crucial one and work your way through the list, keep the end-goal in mind! Another method suggests individuals to set a specific time slot aside for helping others each day. The post-lunch lull is a good time to do this, leaving you time to focus on your own tasks. The key to this method is to understand when you work best and how effectively you utilize your time.


Being at college results in being stimulated ALL the time, but you’re a student first. Remember, saying no to distractions says yes to productivity!