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'Spread thin' is a phrase commonly used in reference to a person who has too many responsibilities. For example: "Between his job at the factory, being a dedicated father, and taking university classes online, Tom is spread pretty thin."

What are some ways to translate this expression and similar ones of 'juggling too many balls at once,' 'having a lot on one's plate,' or 'biting off more than one can chew?' (I would say all these have roughly the same meaning of having more work than one can easily manage.)

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Let's consider the following variants:

  • Разрываться на части - "tear oneself to pieces"; (unsuccessfully) trying to do many jobs at once
  • Девочка-семиделочка - "girl having seven jobs at once"; applies to women only
  • Наш пострел везде поспел - doesn't really mean the person fails, but rather his all-round activity is pretty annoying, quite often said with irony
  • Крутиться как белка в колесе - Russian variant of "squirrel in a wheel" which is close to "having one's plate full"
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    +1, though I believe наш пострел везде поспел is more of "has a finger in every pie".
    – Quassnoi
    Nov 29 '15 at 10:17

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