When you have a lot on your plate, you have a lot of important tasks to manage. This could mean that you’re trying to balance multiple projects at one time, or you’re dealing with one large, demanding project.
If you think about this expression in literal terms, you can imagine someone holding a plate full of food. The food represents your responsibilities at work, school, or life in general. This expression is appropriate for both personal and professional contexts. It is used to imply that we are busy or to emphasize that we have a lot to do. For example:
- I’ve been assigned a third project at work, so I have a lot on my plate right now.
- Valerie has been stressed lately because she has a lot on her plate with end-of-year exams.
A. Can you help me with the research for next week’s meeting?
B. I’m sorry, I can’t take on any more work right now. I already have too much on my plate.
Did you know? You can modify the intensity of this expression by using phrases like “too much” or “enough” to show that the workload is more than you want to cope with. The modifiers should be placed between "have" and "on my plate".