I have a huge problem with saying yes to everything. I guess you can call me a ‘yes woman’. I’m not a yes person in that I agree with what everyone says. Rather, I am always saying yes to people’s requests whether it’s for work or my personal life.

As a freelancer, it’s easy to feel like you’re always on the hunt for clients and work. This makes it hard to say no to requests. Even as a 9 to 5 employee, it’s probably hard to say no if you are trying to climb the corporate ladder or simply make your manager happy.

Still, saying no is crucial to your success, health, and productivity levels. It’s important to realize that you can’t do everything and be everything to everyone. You need space for those goals you committed to being laser-focused on. If you struggle with saying no like I do, there are ways to get more comfortable with it.

Here are 4 key questions to ask yourself if you want to stop saying yes to everything.

Would My Time and Talents Be Properly Utilized?

This is one of the biggest questions you should ask to help self-reflect. Not every task or request people make would be the best use of our time and talents. A few months ago, I was at a Meetup group and briefly mentioned how I’m a freelance writer. A friend then texted me the next day with a lead. The lead didn’t really match my expertise or currently interests so I politely declined but still thanked her for thinking of me.

As a writer, I am picky about the topics I cover but that’s because it’s important to have a niche and expertise. If I say that I write about any everything, it would be hard for me to pitch and get referred for jobs. If something is not making the best use of your time and talents, it should be easy to pass on the opportunity since it likely won’t do much to help you get ahead.

Would I Be Earning What I Feel I’m Worth?

Stop saying yes to tasks without asking yourself this question. Whether it’s a freelance job, a side hustle opportunity, or an extra task at work, be sure to ask yourself if you’d be getting paid enough to justify doing the work. A lot of people are afraid to talk about money or even consider money when doing work but it’s very important. There’s nothing wrong with considering money as a motivator. It doesn’t have to be the only motivator, but doing work to earn enough to take care of ourselves and our families should be a key motivation.

Plus, when you do work that you’re not compensated well for, it can leave a bad taste in your mouth. For me, I often procrastinate more or maybe even start to resent the task when I’m not being paid enough. You don’t want to worry about any of your financial needs or what you won’t have time for if you have to make up for low-paying work. So simply, stop saying yes to these requests.

Counter with another offer if someone really wants you to take on the task and don’t be afraid to explain why. Explain why you would charge more, how much time it would take, and what your process is like to help the other person understand your pricing requirements. If they still don’t budget, it’s important to stand your ground and pass on the opportunity.

Does This Help Bring Me Closer to My Goals?

Oftentimes, we can get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we forget our short and long-term goals. It’s important to check in often and make sure what you’re putting time and effort into each day is helping you get closer toward your goal. This doesn’t have to be a professional goal either.

The goal could be more quality time with your kids or more money for travel. Regardless, it’s important to narrow that goal down and make sure you’re taking steps toward it. If you say yes to too many things that take you away from your goals, you won’t the results you want and it will waste time.

Does Saying Yes Actually Mean I’m Saying No?

You can stop saying yes so much by determining what you’d be saying no to in that moment. If someone wants you to do something and you’re not really that interested, figure out what you’d rather be doing instead. Are you no longer able to stop by the gym since you have to run errands for someone or work overtime?

Are you saying no to any of your personal values by trying to make someone else happy? Society tells us that it’s selfish to put ourselves first. However, if you don’t prioritize your own needs, you may not be able to do a good job serving anyone. What if you’re too tired to perform at work in the morning because you were up late working on an extra project that you couldn’t really take on anyway.

What if you skip out on a dentist appointment for two years because you get busy prioritizing everyone else? Then you find out you have to have an expensive procedure done like an out of control root canal? If saying yes means saying no to something important, it’s likely not worth the hassle.

Learn to stop saying yes to everything by creating a habit of asking yourself these important questions first. Get comfortable with saying no within reason and understand it’s your right to do so. By staying focused on your core priorities you can perform the best for others in your life and work more efficiently overall.