spread oneself too thin

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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.
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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 ?
Bartlett would be spread too thin, but he said no one suffered any ill effects.
Cathey said the city already has something like it - the 30,000-member Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT program, which trains residents to take care of themselves and their neighborhoods when emergency resources are spread too thin.
Our playing talent is spread too thin at the top end of the club game.
forces are spread too thin and should be pulled our of several peacekeeping missions, former Army Secretary Louis Caldera thinks that the new administration will change its stance once it has a chance to see for itself the effect that these operations have had.
If you're spread too thin, and if your competitive position is weak, you become vulnerable to the market leaders.
The city's paramedics corps is currently spread too thin, which makes response times unacceptably low, and overworks paramedics to the point of mental and physical exhaustion.