This is your brain. 

This is your brain on over commitment.

Me:  “Come on kids.  We have to go to the grocery store.”

Kids: “Um mom?  Don’t you want to change out of your pajamas first?”

Me:  “Oh, right.  Good call.”

If you ever have so much going on you don’t know whether you’re coming or going, you can relate.  In a time when we are spread way too thin, have more to do in a day than can possibly be done, and have competing priorities and responsibilities, how in the world do you keep up with it all?

Whether it’s because we don’t want to let people down, feel like we’re “dropping the ball”, or have the distorted belief that we can be all things to all people, many of us have gotten into the habit of over committing. 

Try some of the following tips if you’re starting to feel fried: 

1.  Just say no.  And don’t feel bad about it.  While it’s hard for many people to do, it is totally acceptable to say no.  Your sanity is more important than the PTA fundraiser, the fourth coffee meeting of the week, or planning the office holiday party.  Simply explain that you have too much on your plate and don’t want to take something on that you won’t be able to give your full attention.

2.  Yes, and.  If it’s too uncomfortable for you to say no, say yes, and give a realistic timeline of when you’ll be able to get to it. 

3.   Be kind and rewind.  Take a step back and re-evaluate all of the things on your plate.  Make a list of all of your current projects, responsibilities, deadlines, etc.  What can you simplify and break down into smaller more manageable steps, delegate to someone else, or eliminate all together?    

4.  Ask for help.  So many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness when in reality, it’s a sign of strength.  You have people in your life who care for you and want to support you.  Let them.

5.  Focus on your high payoff activities.  It’s easy to get caught up in activity, but being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive.  What are the top 5 or 6 activities both personally and professionally that bring you the biggest results?  Do those first.

6.  Stop prioritizing your schedule and start scheduling your priorities.  We have become very reactive and spend a large majority of our time doing things that just aren’t that important.  What is most important in your life?  You should be spending a large chunk of time on activities that support it.

7.  Recharge your batteries.  You are no good to anyone if you’re burnt out.  Our bodies have an amazing way of letting us know when we’ve pushed our limits just a little too far.  We get sick, exhausted, and we fizzle out.  Try to be proactive by taking small chunks of time throughout the week to breathe and relax.


  1. I feel like the egg when it’s already fried and crispy. Getting to say “NO” it’s one of the hardest things I deal with and end up with so much on my plate that it’s so hard to keep up. As my routine unexpectedly changed last April, I’ve felt more tired over time physically and mentally. I will need to schedule some “me time” every day for at least one hour. Thanks, Anne, for sending me this sign! 🙂

    • Hey Juanita,

      Great to hear from you!I can totally relate to feeling liek a fried, crispy egg, and I have learned that taking me time isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity!

  2. Thank you! I’m going to encourage everyone I work with to read this! It is so hard to step back for a moment when you’re wrapped up in the chaos. A reminder to do just that is always helpful.

  3. This is fabulous. A month or so ago, I suddenly became overwhelmed by a looming list of commitments, but looking back, I had no idea how I got here. I don’t remember volunteering for all these tasks. (Some are work assignments, but many are not.) Since then, I’ve had to make the conscious effort *not* to say, “sure, no problem” in almost every conversation I have. It really is a difficult habit to break! The hardest part of saying “no” is the “don’t feel bad about it” part.

    Point #6 above is genius. I finally had to write down all my ‘to-do’s because I was forgetting them, and I’ve been trying to knock out a couple of tasks each day. Going forward, I’m going to make #6 the model for my calendar and my to-do list. Thanks! I needed that. 😉

    • Hi Shalyn! Thanks for your comment. You are so right. I catch myself saying, “sure, no problem” all the time, and I have to really work on not feeling bad about turning things down. Glad you liked the post and found it helpful. Sounds like you’re on the right track!

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