Now that a new school year is starting, I thought it would be a good idea to do an episode on overcommitting.  Whether you believe you overcommit or not, I’m still going to urge you to listen to the whole episode.

Let’s be honest, it’s no surprise that we sometimes feel overwhelmed and stretched thin. We’re trying to do our best both at work and in our personal lives.

Overcommitment can manifest in various ways. It could be saying “yes” to every work project that comes your way, volunteering for countless school events, or constantly trying to meet everyone’s expectations.

When my kids were younger, I believed that I needed to be a supermom.  I was a Girl Scout leader, PTA volunteer, soccer mom, softball mom, and karate mom, to name a few.  I’ll never forget the year Kelly graduated 6th grade, and I volunteered to run the entire 6th grade graduation events.

There was a school picnic, a parent-child game night, a Christmas event, and a big party at the end of the year.  Somehow, I was in charge of doing it all because my co-chair had some things going on in her personal life and couldn’t help out as much as was needed.

But my level of overcommitting wasn’t just with my children’s activities.  I also volunteered to be the treasurer at my church and took on some of the most challenging work in the office.

When I look back now, I’m literally exhausted by everything I was involved in.  I was doing the best I could at the time, but it was completely burning me out in the process.

Here’s the thing – I didn’t know then what I know now.  This episode is here to tell you that you’re not alone in this struggle and, more importantly, that there are concrete strategies to regain control and achieve that elusive work-life balance.  

Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, there are things you can start implementing in order to stop overcommitting.  Whether you’re trying to prevent yourself from overcommitting or you’re already overcommitted, I’ve got you covered.  

This week I’m going to discuss how to recognize the problem, setting priorities, time management and delegation, and how to say no.


How to recognize the problem


Let’s start by taking a closer look at the very first step: recognizing the problem. It’s essential to know when you’re dealing with overcommitment, just like a doctor diagnosing an illness.

Imagine this scenario: You’re racing through life, wearing multiple hats – mom, employee, friend, family member – and trying to keep all the balls in the air. Instead of feeling like a superhero, you feel like you’re running on empty, overwhelmed, stressed, and perhaps on the brink of burnout. 

That’s a classic sign that overcommitment might be taking hold of your life.  But how do you know if you’re overcommitting? 

It’s not always easy to spot because we often normalize the chaos. Here are some telltale signs to watch out for:

Overwhelm: That constant feeling of having too much on your plate and never enough time to get it all done.

Irritability: You find yourself snapping at loved ones or coworkers more often than usual because the pressure is getting to you.

Declining Quality: Your work, whether at the office or home, starts to suffer. You can’t give your best because you’re spread too thin.

Health Issues: You may start experiencing physical symptoms like sleep problems, headaches, or even more severe health issues due to the stress of overcommitment.

No “Me” Time: It’s been so long since you did something purely for yourself that you can’t even remember the last time.

Recognizing these signs is like turning on a light in a dark room. It helps you see clearly what you’re dealing with. 

When I look back at the times I’ve overcommitted, I think every single one of those signs were there but I wasn’t paying attention.  I was definitely overwhelmed and irritable, I was making more mistakes at work, I had headaches and sleep problems, and I definitely had no time for myself.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that overcommitment doesn’t make you a superhero; it can actually take a toll on your physical and mental well-being.

Now, if you’re listening to this and thinking, “Yep, that’s me,” take a deep breath. You’re not alone, and there’s a path forward. 


Setting priorities


Picture your life as a sprawling garden with a variety of beautiful flowers. Each flower represents a task, a commitment, or an activity. 

Now, you want to take care of all these lovely flowers, but there’s a catch – you have a limited amount of water to nurture them. You can’t water every flower equally, and that’s where setting priorities comes in.

So, how do you decide which flowers to water more and which ones to water less? The answer is clear priorities. It’s like tending to your garden with a plan in mind.

Here’s a practical approach to setting priorities:

Identify What Truly Matters: Take some time for introspection. What are your core values? What aspects of your life bring you the most joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction? These are the flowers that deserve the most water.

For example, if spending quality time with your children and being present for their milestones is a top priority, prioritize making an effort to be there for their school events, games, and bedtime stories.  Or, if your health and well-being are important, prioritize regular exercise and maintaining a balanced diet by scheduling your workouts as non-negotiable appointments in your calendar.

Embrace the Art of Saying No: Prioritization often involves making choices and, yes, sometimes saying “no.” It’s about recognizing that you can’t do it all, and that’s perfectly okay. Saying “no” to one thing often means saying “yes” to something more important.

For example, if your boss asks you to take on an additional project, but you realize it would significantly impact your family time, you would respectfully decline or negotiate a more manageable workload. Or if you’re passionate about giving back to the community but you’re already stretched thin, you kindly decline to take on a new volunteer role at this time.

Begin to see your priorities as the signposts on the road of life. They guide you in the direction that aligns with your deepest desires and values. 

The truth is that when you’re crystal clear about what matters most, it becomes easier to navigate through the maze of overcommitment.

Setting priorities is like creating a protective shield around your time and energy. It’s your way of ensuring that you dedicate your resources to what truly matters most to you, your family, and your overall well-being.


Time management and delegation


Since time management for accountants is my specialty, I want you to imagine your day as a finely tuned orchestra, with each instrument playing in harmony. Your goal is to make the most of every precious minute, just like a skilled conductor orchestrating a beautiful symphony.

How does that happen?  First, with better time management.  

The truth is that effective time management is your secret weapon in the battle against overcommitment. It’s about using your time wisely and efficiently.

Here are some time management tips to consider:

Prioritize Tasks: Start your day by identifying your most important tasks. Focus your energy on these before tackling less critical items.

For example, if you have several projects at work, including one with a tight deadline and another that’s less urgent, schedule the project with the imminent deadline first, making sure you’re not giving into your brain’s tendency to think everything is urgent.  Or, if you’ve recognized that spending quality time with your children is a top priority, choose to prioritize family game nights or weekend outings over other social commitments.

Time Blocking: Allocate specific blocks of time for different activities. This structured approach helps you stay organized and ensures tasks don’t bleed into each other.

For example, if you work from home and want to maximize productivity, create time blocks for focused work, allocating a specific time frame (e.g., 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM) to complete important tasks without interruptions. Or, to manage household chores efficiently, you could designate certain days or time blocks each week for specific tasks, like cleaning on Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and grocery shopping on Sundays from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Limit Distractions: Identify common distractions in your work and home environments and find ways to minimize them. This might involve turning off notifications on your devices, setting specific work hours, or creating a dedicated workspace where you can focus without interruptions.

In addition to time management, it’s also important to focus on the art of delegation.

Delegation is like having a team of skilled assistants to help with your tasks. It’s a smart way to distribute the workload and ensure that you’re not carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Here are some delegation scenarios:

At Home: In your household, consider delegating household chores to family members. For example, involve your kids in age-appropriate responsibilities and ask your partner to share the cooking or grocery shopping duties.

At Work: In your professional life, delegation could involve assigning tasks or projects to colleagues or employees if you have the authority. It’s about recognizing the strengths of your team and leveraging those strengths to achieve common goals.

Personal Life: In your personal life, think about outsourcing tasks that don’t require your direct involvement. This might mean using a grocery delivery service, hiring a babysitter or nanny for occasional childcare support, or even seeking help from a professional organizer to declutter your living space.

By effectively managing your time and embracing delegation, you’re essentially streamlining your life. You’re ensuring that each minute is spent purposefully, and you’re not trying to do it all alone.


How to say no


The last thing I want to talk about is saying no.  I think that one of the main reasons we find ourselves overcommitting, if we’re honest, is because we have a difficult time saying no.

It makes sense that this would be challenging, especially for women, because we are conditioned at an early age to say yes.  Think about when you were younger – saying no often got you into trouble.

The issue is that now that we’re grown women, not saying no is getting us into even more trouble.

Here are some examples of how to say no, even when you’re uncomfortable:

At Work: Suppose your boss assigns you an additional project when your workload is already overwhelming. You can say, “I appreciate the opportunity, but given my current workload, I’m concerned about delivering the quality I aim for. Is there a way we can reevaluate priorities or extend the deadline?”

Social Invitations: A close friend invites you to a weekend getaway that conflicts with your family’s plans. You can say, “Thank you so much for thinking of me! I’d love to join, but we have a family commitment that weekend that I can’t miss. Let’s plan something for another time.”

Volunteer Requests: You’re asked to volunteer for an event, but your schedule is already packed. You can respond with, “I’m genuinely interested in helping out, but my current commitments won’t allow me to give it the attention it deserves.”

Personal Boundaries: A family member frequently asks for financial assistance, and it’s causing strain on your own finances. You can say, “I want to help, but my own financial situation is tight right now. I need to prioritize my family’s financial stability. I’m sure you understand.”

Additional Responsibilities: A colleague asks you to take on a task that isn’t part of your job description. You can politely decline with, “I appreciate your confidence in me, but I need to focus on my core responsibilities right now. Maybe we can find another team member who can assist.”

Parental Requests: Your child’s school requests your involvement in multiple committees. You can say, “I value our school community, but I have to be mindful of my time to balance family and work. I can commit to one committee, but I can’t take on more.”

Social Obligations: You’re invited to a series of social events, but you’re feeling overwhelmed. You can say, “I appreciate your invitations, but I’m currently prioritizing self-care and family time. I’ll have to decline this time, but I hope we can catch up soon.”

Unreasonable Requests: Someone asks for a significant favor that you’re uncomfortable fulfilling. You can respond with, “I understand that this is important to you, but I’m not in a position to help with that request. I hope you can find an alternative solution.”

Remember that saying no is about setting boundaries and respecting your own limitations. While it may feel uncomfortable at times, it’s essential for your long-term health and happiness.

So hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how to stop overcommitting and things you can begin to implement.  While you’re not alone in the struggle to stop overcommitting, it is important to draw the line in the sand now, before it gets to become an even bigger problem.




Let’s be honest, it’s no surprise that we sometimes feel overwhelmed and stretched thin. We’re trying to do our best both at work and in our personal lives.

Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, there are things you can start implementing in order to stop overcommitting.