spread oneself too thin

spread too thin

Having expended more resources, energy, or time than one can maintain or sustain; overwhelmed by undertaking too many activities at the same time. Between school, work, and volunteering, I'm just spread a bit too thin lately. The injury-plagued team was simply spread too thin by the end of the seven-game series.
See also: spread, 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