It's one of the hardest words to say in the workplace - especially when you're out to impress, and the idea of having to tell colleagues you can't do something may feel like raising a red flag of ineptitude.
How many times have you found yourself swamped by work, yet saying 'yes' to extra responsibilities and tasks? Either through fear of appearing rude or selfish, or because we strive to earn our place by doing what's asked, when it's asked - even to the detriment of our quality of work and ourselves.
In my experience, there is so much anxiety around the implications of using this monosyllabic monster that it is easy to forget that sometimes it's okay to say 'no'.
This fact has taken me a long time to learn, and remains one which I am still getting my head around as I sit here typing. I am your classic 'people pleaser' type, who will take on extra responsibilities and work until I'm getting three hours sleep a night in order to keep on top of everything. At one point during my fulltime degree, I was working 3 jobs, doing volunteer work and acting as news and comment editor for the university newspaper. Looking back, I'm not quite sure how I survived.
Of course, there are certain ways of saying no. Rolling your eyes, 'talk to the hand' and incomprehensible screaming generally tend to leave the inquirer in bad spirits.
When it feels like time to use the magic word, keep these tips in mind:
Finally, don't be scared to hold your ground; if asked again, simply reiterate that you're currently unable to take anything else on board until you've gotten through some of your tasks.
'No' is a little word with big impact. Use it wisely.
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