Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


How likely are you to overcommit yourself and run yourself down from doing so?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How likely are you to overcommit yourself and run yourself down from doing so?

  • Very. I do it all the time: 42%
  • Somewhat. I try not to overcommit but it happens occasionally: 46%
  • Not very. I rarely find myself overcommitted: 7%
  • Not at all. I manage commitments rigorously so I’m not stretched too thin: 4%

Overcommit and underdeliver. Many of you report overcommitting sometimes to all the time. Those are alarming numbers. You’re not impressing people by taking on too much work and then either failing to deliver on it to an expected standard or running yourself into the ground in the process of getting the work done. If you’re burned out, you’re worthless to the organization, your friends and family, and to yourself. Get comfortable with saying “no” or pushing back on deadlines. Take baby steps at first. When someone says they need something “right now” get clarity on the date. Oftentimes things can be pushed out. The more comfortable you get with pushing back, saying “no,” and delegating, the less likely you are to disappoint those around you and wear yourself out.​

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”