spread oneself too thin

spread oneself too thin

Fig. to do so many things at one time that you can do none of them well. It's a good idea to get involved in a lot of activities, but don't spread yourself too thin. I'm too busy these days. I'm afraid I've spread myself too thin.
See also: spread, thin

spread oneself too thin

Overextend oneself, undertake too many different enterprises. For example, Tom's exhausted; what with work, volunteer activities, and social life he's spread himself too thin . This expression alludes to smearing something (like butter on bread) in such a thin layer that it does not cover the surface. Jonathan Swift used spread thin in a positive sense, that is, something should occur less often ( Polite Conversation, 1731-1738): "They [polite speeches] ought to be husbanded better, and spread much thinner."
See also: spread, thin
References in periodicals archive ?
We all know that it does not pay to spread oneself too thin, and this also goes for those in business," says Richard Buczynski from IBISWorld.