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Coping With Too Much to Do

When there's more than you can possibly do, you have to drop something.

By
Stever Robbins
September 23, 2008
Episode #049

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Today's topic is coping with too much on your plate. The quick and dirty tip is to look to your outcomes and prune, prune, prune.

My name is Stever Robbins, and I’m addicted to having too much on my plate.

When I was a kid, my parents let their friends Bill and Karen take care of me one weekend. Karen made macaroni and cheese for dinner. My favorite! But she gave me too much. I protested, but Bill insisted: "You're not leaving this table until you clean your plate." Four and a half hours later, he gave up. The score: Stever, 1, Macaroni and Cheese, 0. Bill died many years later and it had a profound effect. When I was done celebrating, I realized he was trying to teach me a very important lesson.

You see, these days I put too much on my plate. See, I’ve focused on my commitments, just like I recommended. And somehow… I’m still trying to bite off way more than I can chew.

Right now, I'm writing a business blog, a newsletter, a podcast, and Twittering. I'm writing the Get-it-Done Guy book and a separate blog about the book. I'm working out four times a week thanks to trainer Tyler in a vague attempt to recapture the body I never had as a 25-year-old, developing a product on overcoming overload—like I should talk—marketing the product, and, oh yes, running my coaching business, which is the one commitment that actually puts food on the table (but not macaroni and cheese. It’s too soon for macaroni and cheese.).

Yes, I know, I’m the host of the Get-it-Done Guy, but that does not exempt me from the harsh reality of life: there’s only so much I can do in a week, even if I am a creature from another dimension with a life span of centuries.

Drop something to reclaim your time

The tip is to drop something. “What?!” you cry, “That’s obvious!!” Uh, huh. Sure it is. Take a look at your  list of ongoing projects. When was the last time you resigned from an important committee, broke up with a spouse so you could spend more time at work, or put your kids up for adoption to make more time for the bowling league? See? It’s not as easy as it looks.

When you’re overwhelmed with ongoing demands, you have limited options. You can start doing a crappy job at everything, you can try to do everything and instead become a basket case, or you can choose something to drop.

My commitments relate to just three life goals: getting a manly-man body, running a successful coaching and consulting business, and building a wide audience for my burgeoning media career so I can become a famous personality and be invited to Brad and Angelina’s house for lasagna (not macaroni and cheese). If I were Arnold Schwarzenegger, I could do all three at once and be governor of California. Sadly, however, my pecs aren’t quite that big. Yet.

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