Negativity can be described as a chronic attitude problem. But if you’ve earned that label because you say “no” to some things, you’ve been wrongly accused.

Saying “no” is about a decision in time. And saying it when you really need to will help you be more productive in the long run, says Chris Miltimore in an article for Fast Company.

After all, most of us, at some time, have gotten to a breaking point where we needed to put our foot down. If you have a hard time saying “no,” try these practical tips:

Develop a filter. As yourself these questions to help you decide:

Do I really want to do this?

How will I benefit from doing this?

Am I the best person to do this?

Is doing this the best use of my time?

Do it quickly. Once you realize saying “yes” isn’t the wisest course of action, politely decline right away. Don’t say “I need to check my schedule,” or promise to get back to them.

Be honest. Don’t feel like you need to make excuses. Be honest and explain you have other commitments and can’t do it.

Offer an alternative. Sometimes we really want to help, but the timing is just off. Let them know that you are willing and suggest an alternate time or date. If it isn’t going to be timely, suggest someone else who might be able to help them.

Stand your ground. If someone doesn’t accept no as your answer, remain firm and politely stand your ground. If they still won’t accept your answer, then that person probably doesn’t respect you or your time and needs.