There’s plenty of info about what to do when you’re already overwhelmed, overworked, or overextended, but I think it’s smarter to not even get there. Today, I’ll help you understand how to do THAT.

Chief Takeaways

  • Your capacity is the place you get to when you realize that there’s not one more thing you can do without things starting to fall apart.
  • Figure out where your capacity is, commit to honoring it and to saying no to any more than that.
  • Once you get used to honoring your capacity, create an even higher standard for yourself and back away from your capacity even more. It gives you a reserve of time and space.
  • Avoid disappointing a client by being afraid to disappoint the client. Always tell your truth.
  • There’s always tomorrow to get stuff done that didn’t happen today. And if tomorrow doesn’t come, then it won’t matter to anyone that there were things you didn’t do yesterday.
  • When you don’t sacrifice yourself for someone else, you model a way of being in the world. We need more people who can model this.
  • Say no more often (or at least, say “not today, but I can do it for you Thursday at 11a”), stop ahead of reaching capacity. Put yourself first so you can do a better job for others.
  • Make only explicit agreements
  • The most important word to know is “capacity.”
  • Bonus tip: Buy the book. Do the work.
  • And remind yourself of this: Reaching an over is always an act of martyring myself.


  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide), by Sarah Knight (yes; this is an affiliate link. All affiliate commissions we earn go to supporting charities that benefit at-risk women and kids in the US. Learn more about who we’re supporting this year.)

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