Over commitment & busy work

When we feel like we are over committed & are juggling a lot of priorities, this is the time to really look at our productive habits & to consider whether we are committing to the right things to give us the best results. When you feel like you are continuously juggling your time & that you don’t have time to do all you want to do – stop, reflect & consider:

  • How could I have managed expectations differently in this scenario to not be over-committed?
  • What can I do differently so that this doesn’t happen again?
  • What could I have planned differently to prevent this from happening?
  • What other resources could have helped?


There has been twice in my career when I’m worked a 30 hours shift because I didn’t feel like I could say no – to meet a deadline that we as a team had committed to. At that time, we had over committed, we hadn’t managed expectations along the way of what could be delivered & we were working for long hours over an extended period of time which physically & mentally can run us down & can affect our health over time. This happened to me personally not once, but twice. In both instances I believed it was outside of my control & that I wasn’t able to say no. In hindsight, I could have managed expectations differently so that both situations didn’t occur.


At a time when you are really busy, this is the time to really reflect on what you could do differently to prevent this from happening again. I’m currently coming out of a very busy time period – there was a deadline that I didn’t have control over; three client programmes that moved their start dates & when they moved I didn’t feel I could say no to them. This was a time where I decided I would manage through the busy period by continuously looking at what I was prioritising each week & each day so that I wasn’t under too much pressure at any one point in time.


Reflecting back on the situation I ask myself:

  • What were some things that I could have said no to?
  • What were some things where I could have managed expectations differently?
  • Where could I have had the difficult conversation to say “ I’m not going to be able to deliver this in the original deadlines that we agreed – is there a possibility of extending this?

Sometimes instead of having those difficult conversations, we put our head down & we focus on getting the work done rather than considering whether it is the right way to be working. I’m busy…I’ll do it.. & get it done. I come across this alot with client who are always so busy. They get into the habit of overcommiting & don’t feel like they have the time to reflect & change any of the circumstances.


We live in a world that is constantly moving at a fast pace. Technology assists us in being constantly on. It is up to us to continuously manage this for ourselves & take a few moments to reflect.


If you are in a busy period right now, ask yourself, how could I:

  • Plan differently
  • Plan support differently
  • Manage expectations around this

If you are struggling to get out of the habit of over committing at work, set up a free introductory coaching call to talk through strategies to deal with this.


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