Do You Spread Yourself Too Thin?

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
                                                    Volume 16, Number 10
We live in a society where entrepreneurship, hard work, and always being available through texts, emails, or social media is valued. The 40-hour work week is a thing of the past and working two or more jobs is not uncommon.

Being spread too thin refers to being overcommitted with taking on too many tasks and not having enough time to do all of them. This obviously creates constant stress and worry. It’s like running just to catch up but you seldom ever get there.

Our October e-Letter is entitled Do You Spread Yourself Too Thin? Dr. Kimmel’s blog is about Tom Petty and Gator Football and can be found here.

We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our e-Letters and for the positive and compassionate comments we have received.

Do You Spread Yourself Too Thin?

                                                      (Photo by Mizuno-k)

Many talented and hardworking people often take on too much, attempt to juggle their workload, and have difficulty saying “no”. Even though they may enjoy what they are doing, they often fall into the trap of spreading themselves too thin. But doing too much can diminish our enjoyment of what we do and also the quality of what we do.

Spreading oneself too thin means committing to more tasks that one can effectively manage. These individuals feel like they just can’t do all the things on their list. In fact, their lists have lists. They do not enjoy their lives and are always running just to catch up.

Characteristics of people who are spread too thin include irritability, frequent sickness, difficulty concentrating, exhaustion, depressed and/or anxious feelings, and poor eating and sleeping patterns. If and when they do have some free time, they often feel uncomfortable and even guilty that they are not accomplishing something.

By being spread too thin, people may:

  • constantly need to prove themselves capable by taking on more tasks
  • be avoiding feelings of anxiety and depression by staying constantly busy
  • have difficulty setting and maintaining their boundaries
  • be unable to say “no” to themselves and others
  • feel guilty or that they are disappointing others by letting them down
  • have FOMO, the fear of missing out, so they say “yes” to more and more tasks
  • compare themselves to others, especially on social media, and feel inadequate
  • be distracting themselves from their feelings, thoughts, and intimate behaviors
    To prevent spreading yourself too thin, the most important behavior is to set boundaries. That is to know when to say “no“ and to feel okay with it. Realizing that you are important and need to care for yourself will help to set boundaries. Understand that you may be disappointing others, but you need to put yourself first.

    In addition, consider whether you are taking on too many tasks to avoid your feelings or hurts. Keeping busy may take your mind off what is troubling you, but it does eventually catch up. Solve your problems and do not avoid them.

    Finally, shorten your to-do list by deleting what is unnecessary or unimportant. If you have difficulty doing this or are avoiding hurts and feelings, consider seeking professional help.

    We offer the following information:

    Stress is the trash of modern life. We all generate it, but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life… Danzae Pace


    • Do you:
    • Take on more commitments than you can actually do?
    • Rarely have enough time to do what you want to do?
    • Have trouble saying no?
    • Bite off more than you can chew?
    • Often feel overcommitted?
    • Worry about what people think of you if you are not busy?
    • Feel uncomfortable if you are not doing something that needs to get done?
    • Start more projects even when you have no time for them?
    • Being spread too thin is the tendency to commit oneself to more tasks than can be effectively done
    • People who are spread too thin often have poor work execution, have high levels of stress, and forget how to relax
    • Other characteristics include frequent sickness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, pessimism, and minor meltdowns
    • Being spread too thin is often an attempt to enhance one’s self esteem by taking on too many tasks and expecting them all to be done well
    • Spread too thin people also put their own needs last, perceive that time goes too quickly, feel tired all the time, eat poorly, and often engage in addictive behaviors
    • Reasons for spreading too thin include feeling incomplete, having difficulty setting appropriate boundaries, falling short compared to others, or just avoiding feelings
    • People who are not spread too thin often feel fulfilled, grateful, relaxed, energized, motivated, social, happy, and optimistic


    • Decide whether you are keeping yourself busy to avoid difficult or painful emotions
    • Know when to say no and be okay with it even if it’s difficult
    • Respect yourself by setting boundaries and don’t violate them
    • Consider whether you take on tasks just to please others
    • When saying no, recognize that people may not like it, but they may well respect you
    • Put yourself first and consider whether what you agree to do is of value to you
    • Assess all your tasks and determine whether they are really that important
    • Delete the unnecessary or unimportant from your list of things to do
    • Share your tasks with others and don’t hesitate to ask for assistance
    • Care for your mind and body by eating well, exercising, and practicing meditation
    • Seek professional help if you continue to have difficulty saying no, feel overwhelmed, and seem unable to enjoy your life

    Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at [email protected]

            Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
            5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
            Coral Springs FL 33067

    As always, we are interested in your thoughts. If you would like to respond to this e-Letter, email your comments to [email protected] and we will publish them next month.

    Till November…

    The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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    Copyright © 2022 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.