“You've taken on way too much. You need to scale back.”

English Lesson: You've taken on way too much. You need to scale back.

Your friend has a job, volunteers three nights a week, and is a part time student. She's been feeling stressed lately, and today she is staying home because she's sick. You're talking to her on the phone, and tell her that she need to relax.

You've taken on way too much. You need to scale back.

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You need to (do something)

"You need to ___" is a really strong and direct way of giving someone advice or orders. It's usually used by parents, teachers, and bosses. It's usually used when they're angry or annoyed:

You need to stop talking and pay attention.

You need to get the account manager on the phone and tell him you're sorry, but you made a mistake.

take (something) on

You “take on” a job, project, or other important duty. This meansto volunteer or agree to do it. To "take something on" requires time and responsibility.

I took on a volunteer job on Saturdays.

That project was a lot to take on.

You can also use this order with "it", "them", "something", or other prepositions:

No one else was available to do it, so I took it on myself.

way too (adjective)

In this phrase, “way” adds extra emphasis to “too (adjective)”. It makes the meaning stronger.

Whoa, that’s way too expensive.

I was way too tired to go out.

This phrase is extremely common in spoken English, particularly with teens and younger adults.  

You might also say “much too (adjective)” or, more formally, “far too (adjective)”:

I'm far too busy to take on any other responsibilities right now.

scale back

“Scaling back” means reducing the activity in your life, so it can be more manageable.

After this is over, I promise that I'll scale back and spend more time with you and the kids.

You can also say “scale back (something)” to talk about specific activities:

They plan to scale back their one-on-one counseling.

This means to reduce how much you do an activity, or a group of activities. If you "scale something back", you do it less. People can scale back their activities, a company can scale back a program, etc.