Productivity Strategy: Resist Overextending Yourself

Even if your intentions are good, it’s a bad idea.

Lisa Sealey
3 min readMar 31, 2022


There are two ways in which you can overextend yourself: you can take on more work than you are reasonably capable of performing, or you can take on work which is beyond your capabilities. Either choice will usually spell disaster.

Overextending yourself can cause you to become frustrated, discouraged, and yes, even less productive. It may even cause you to get fired if you can’t do the work satisfactorily or within required time limits.

You may know someone who is a workaholic. They usually find some aspect of their job to work on, or handle, long after they have left the workplace for the day. They may feel that no job will get done, or will not get done correctly, unless they are doing it.

If you are this person, you probably need to assess your habit of overextending yourself. If you’re working at home after the workday is finished, you are not managing your time — or your workload — effectively.

That is most likely because you have taken on more than you can reasonably do or because you have taken on something that you are not capable of doing.

Overextending yourself on a regular basis will wear you out, burn you out, and wreak havoc with your health. It can affect your ability to concentrate and focus. You may even begin making unnecessary errors or become forgetful. And you will definitely not get nearly as much done as you had hoped.

One way to keep from overextending yourself is by being honest with yourself about your abilities and your available time. Even if you are working on a very important project, you cannot spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week doing it and expect it to turn out well. You need to take a reasonable amount of time for rest, eating, and exercise — and even some recreation — in order to be in prime condition for doing the job.

Take some time to figure out exactly what you’re capable of doing on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Then only do that. If your job is requiring more than that from you, it’s probably time to have a conversation with your employer about expectations versus reality.

If you overextend yourself by attempting to do a job that is beyond your capabilities — even if you really, really want to help out — it will most likely backfire, because you won’t be able to meet the deadlines or complete the work. If you are not fully qualified to do the job, resist the temptation to do it. Instead, leave it to someone who really is qualified to complete it correctly. Find another way to help out.

Are you overextended? Send an email to and let me know.



Lisa Sealey

Hi, I’m Lisa. | Organizing | Planning | Time Management | Productivity | Life | Sign up for updates, tips, info, and freebies: