Over Commitment is a Vice.
Abhishek Sharma
June 29, 2015

At school, the homework came with a due date and I had to adhere to it. There were times when I’d reach home with a huge load of work from all the subject teachers with very less time to finish it. I was forced to overcommit.
I couldn’t argue with them; all they saw was their own subject’s homework. Also the teacher held such
a position in my mind that she had all the authority. So what happened when I was made to overcommit?
Either I did not finish all the work and was punished or I did all the work at an expense of sleep or play (which is again a punishment.)

We are so conditioned to saying yes to all the work we’re assigned that we forget to gauge if we’ll be able to achieve it. And it is no good if it cannot be done, especially on time.
Success is not in taking up too many tasks but in doing the tasks you take up.

Sometimes we overcommit to impress our client or our boss. Many people claim to do more work (over commit) to get more work. The cost of rejecting some work is lesser than not getting any work done at all.

Over commitment should be avoided because your client or your boss does not know your capability and cannot judge on your behalf whether you will live upto it. Instead of a plus point for promising more work, it decreases your credibility.

We went to a coffee shop and were waiting for our order. After 45 minutes, one of got up to ask about the same and the person responsible for making our coffee said ‘5 minutes’. He over committed. He was clearly not working on our order and there was no way he could have got us our order in another 5 minutes. So we got up and left, perhaps, never to return. What if he had let us know in advance the amount of time he was going to take with a genuine reason for not being able to serve us within expected time? It would have saved him 6 customers.

A few ways to avoid over commitment:

Know your capability: since we all have differing capabilities, it is best to recognize yours and work within it.
Know how much time the work is going to take and then set the deadline accordingly.
In case you misjudge, let your boss/client/customer know before you waste a lot of their time.

Abhishek Sharma
Content & Design head