Overcommitting usually originates from a good place. It comes from your desire to be kind and supportive. It comes from your desire to help out. And it’s also connected to your fear of disappointing or letting others down. You have a hard time saying “no,” so you overextend yourself, often taking on more than is probably healthy for you.
You probably tell yourself that it’s not that big of a deal; you can handle it. You minimize the stress it causes, telling yourself that it’s temporary or for a good cause. You decide that it doesn’t impact you that much, and so it’s totally fine.
But if you have a habit of overcommitting, I want you to hear this. Every time you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else.
Your resources are precious. Your time is finite; you can’t make more hours in the day. Your energy is limited; you can’t just go and go forever without running low on battery. Your resources are not endless.
Every time you overcommit, it costs you. It costs you time and energy. It costs your most sacred resources, leaving less for what’s truly important to you.
So when you say yes to another big project at work, know that you now have less time and energy for other projects and tasks. When you agree to hang out with friends a few nights in a row, remember that this comes at a price. It leaves you with less time to sleep, rest, or recharge with your kids. When you feel obligated to help with an upcoming event, spending hours each evening working on stuff, it costs you. It cuts into your sleep or evening routine. It leaves you with less energy the following morning, snapping at your partner because you’re so drained.
When you overcommit, you pay a price. You spend your precious resources, leaving less time and energy for the people you love, the things you value, and the self-care you so desperately need.
This post isn’t about becoming a self-centered curmudgeon who says no to everyone and everything. That’s certainly not realistic or healthy. Instead, this post is a call to think differently about your pattern of overcommitting. It’s about being intentional and thoughtful about how you spend your resources. Because they aren’t unlimited.
Before you say “yes,” think about the resources you have. Think about where you want them to go, not where you feel guilted to spend them. Be thoughtful about what’s most important to you, and make sure you’ve got enough time and energy to devote there.
Your resources limited and precious. And they deserve to be treated as such!
PS: Are you ready to stop overcommitting? Check out the simple phrase that can break this pattern the very next time you’re asked for a favor.