Life balance

O.O.O.P.S.! Is That What I Said?




Bobbe White

Do you often feel overwhelmed? Overworked? Overcommitted? There are many reasons and even more theories. I believe that, in most cases, our overcommitment tendencies are related to feeling overwhelmed and overworked. If you solve the former, you’ll feel less of the latter.

Here’s the dig.

Too often we say, “Yes,” and mean, “No.” Imagine a time when you have done this. How’d you feel? Pay attention to your gut the next time you say, “Yes,” and mean, “No.” We immediately sense it. I know I do. Intuition tells us one thing, obligation (or something else) tells us another. It’s an internal struggle.

WHY do we overcommit?

  • Obligation: The toughest reason. We feel we have no choice. And you may not. You see this when grown children help aging parents. Tasks fall on one person, for countless reasons: proximity, others won’t help, others can’t help or there are no others to help. It’s all on you, Baby.

Perceived obligation/neediness: We don’t consider other options. Or, we have a major need for positive feedback and leap at the chance. But, there ARE others with which to share the commitment. You just wanted to go it alone. When you hear, “You should’ve said something.” This personality will reply, “It’s okay, I knew you were busy, I didn’t mind (even though I’m behind in everything else and I’m having a breakdown and haven’t changed clothes in a week.) a/k/a The Martyr.

  • Responsibility: the task may just be up to you and only you. This is when you must weigh the outcome, should you choose to not commit. You know the right thing to do.


  • Desire: You WANT to commit because it really stirs your inner jazz. Go for it, but understand what you’re taking on and then, don’t whine about it. “You wanted the bicycle, now peddle it.”Example: Sure, the teachers’ appreciation breakfast success depends on your 13 dozen brownies: half frosted, half unfrosted, half-nutted, half-unnutted. By 7:00 a.m. tomorrow. Your brownies are, hands down, the BEST. This is not a good reason to overcommit. They’re just brownies. Don’t do this to yourself. The success or failure of any event is not yours to shoulder.



  • “I wish I could, but in this season of my life, any “Yes” I give you is a “NO” I must give to my__________________ (parents, children, dog, family.)
  • Say this to yourself, “Just because I can, doesn’t mean I have to.” Powerful.
  • “No…it’s a long story.
  • “Let me get back to you,” or “Let me check my calendar,”
  • And my all-time favorite: “O.O.O.P.S! Is that what I said? That’s not what I meant.” (Back peddling is sometimes an option. It works very well, as long as you slap your forehead when you say, “OOOPS!”


SO, what does O.O.O.P.S. mean?

Overwhelmed, Overworked, Overcommitted, Pressure and Stress. Try to avoid O.O.O.P.S. Because over-commitment is unhealthy and we don’t really need accolades that badly…do we? If you almost said,”Yes,” but truthfully, said, “No,” then be like Elsa…good for you for letting it go.




By bobbewhite

Speaker~Author~Certified Laughter Leader (Seriously!) I look at life with a sense of humor and the gift of laughter and help organizations do the same. I try to write the way I talk, so you will find me less stuffy than Miss Huddleston's English Class and and a step above a toddler. I figure that if we all "play attention" to humor in our daily routines, and we'll all have more joy and less stress in this thing called life.

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