4 Strategies For Dealing With Over-Commitment

Jul 10, 2021 2 min read
4 Strategies For Dealing With Over-Commitment

Here are four simple strategies for dealing with stress and over-commitment: Know your priorities, know your manager’s priorities, learn to say no, and delegate often.

In 6 Tips for Getting Your Life in Balance, I explained the importance of setting priorities to achieve the right balance between work (career and ambition) and life (health, leisure, and family.)

However, there are times when commitments can stress you out and stop you realizing your goals. Here are 4 straightforward strategies for dealing with over-commitment.

Dealing With Over-Commitment

Over-commitment is often a source of stress, and dealing with this—whether at home or at work—is to manage your time more effectively and to learn to say no more often.

The following strategies for dealing with over-commitment help free us from stress.

Know your priorities

It’s not surprising that setting priorities leads to a more efficient life. I have five. Here they are in order of importance:

  1. Self
  2. Family
  3. Work
  4. Friends
  5. Everything else

Having priorities helps us to keep our focus and enthusiasm. What’s more, having priorities is a first step toward saying no. When we know what we want, we are more deliberate. Our commitments, obligations, and responsibilities have context. This is empowering.

Know your manager’s priorities

When we’re at work, our priority is work. We have objectives, and they were set by our manager. Sometimes work keeps piling up and something has to give.

Therefore, you need to know your manager’s priorities, and those of our manager’s manager. Knowing their priorities—what makes them tick—helps us to negotiate our workload and to reduce the pressure to get everything done.

Learn to say no

Or rather, learn to say no for now. Saying no to someone is unhelpful and conveys the wrong message. So don’t say it! As an alternative, postpone or renegotiate. It’s more useful to say something like, “Yes, I can help with this, and I’ll start on it next week once I’ve finished the… Is that okay with you?”

When juggling, it is inevitable that you’ll drop something. Therefore, it is better to say no for now than to fail. Regrettably, people remember you for your failures more readily than for your successes. So stop letting things fall between the cracks because you are over-committed.

Delegate more often

Not only am I prone to over-committing, I’m also reluctant to delegate tasks. I guess I like to be in control. However, I do have a great team of willing and highly competent people.

A man has to know his limitations. – Harry Callahan, fictional character

The reality is, we cannot get everything done by ourselves. Indeed, if we could, we wouldn’t need a team! Therefore, we must either learn to delegate well or be buried in the work others should and could be doing. It is our responsibility to delegate tasks to others and control the outcomes. The more we delegate effectively, the greater our success.


What strategies do you have for dealing with over-commitment? You are welcome to tell us about your experiences in the comments.

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