How Much Is Too Much? Everything in Moderation

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My grandfather seemed old to me from the very beginning. With age comes wisdom, we were taught. I was an observant child who spent more time listening to grown ups than talking to them, and I remembered much of what he said. There were a few bites of wisdom my grandfather imparted to me each time I saw him. One piece of advice that rings true continuously for me is, “Everything in moderation.” He considered moderation the key to all things in life.

As a little girl, my vantage point standing at the foot of the patriarch’s recliner focused on his forearms and white whiskers. He would move those forearms up and down while he talked. “Don’t smoke too much. Don’t drink too much. Don’t work too much,” Grandpa would say in his quiet, raspy voice.

When I meet with clients, I notice increasingly how the fast pace of life and the infinite number of choices we have derail even the most disciplined people. Clients often say, “I am doing too much. I cannot take on another thing. I do not know where to spend my time.” They ask, “Which of these activities should I keep and which ones should I dump?”

The situation makes me think of my grandpa. He would smoke his pipe only on the weekend. He never ate too much, and enjoyed a variety of food. His answer to my client’s question would be something like do what works for you, just do not be extreme in how often you do it.

When clients feel overwhelmed and trapped by all of their choices, it’s time to step back to evaluate. Working with me in a coaching session, we develop a process to determine the value of each action and how it relates to achieving the client’s specific goal. Then we co-create a better plan for moving forward.

The fastest path to achieving a goal may be multiple paths. Especially if several activities are bringing success. The answer to decreasing the stress is often a matter of scaling back rather than eliminating.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, try this. Sit down with a notebook and take the time to assess.

  • Make a quick chart with the headings: Activity, Time Spent, Results, Notes.
  • Fill in each portion of the chart. Activities could be board meetings, prospects for new business, events sponsored by organizations you joined, and so on.
  • Results should be tangible results like “Increased revenues by $X” or “Learned new skill.”
  • The notes column is the place to write how you feel about the activity. This is an opportunity to get to the root of what is overwhelming you. Sometimes, it is not the time you spend doing something that wears you out. It’s the activity itself.
  • When you finish the chart, write your goal above the headings in bigger letters.
  • Then leave it alone for a day or two. Your mind will work on the solutions while you are mowing the lawn or taking a shower.
  • When you come back to the chart, examine it with fresh eyes. Where can you scale back the time you spend on some of the activities? Which activities are not advancing you toward your goal? It’s ok to cut some of those.

Ultimately, the goal of the exercise is to do what works for you in moderation. My grandfather lived to be 95. Take his advice.

For more information contact Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach at

Published by Mary Balistreri

Mary Balistreri offers a variety of coaching and professional development services to individuals and organizations focused on harnessing strengths to develop more business. Mary’s approach is goal driven, focusing on measurable results and developing actionable plans to move past obstacles that hold individuals, teams, and organizations back from executing on the plan. Mary offers expertise in business development, team building, and leadership development coupled with strategies to improve conversational and emotional intelligence to support clients moving toward their goals and aspirations.

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