From Schedule Overload to Clarity

Don’t be overwhelmed by a busy schedule; sort your activities so your brain can deal with clarity. Get-It-Done Guy has the solution.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #272

Some Activities Make Progress

Focus activities are the things you do because they’re directly relevant to your job. They actually get productive stuff done that moves you forward.

When Europa is handling marketing for Bernice’s plant store, Green Growing Things, her focus activities include deciding where and how the store should advertise, arranging promotional events with the local homeless shelter (the homeless problem in town seems to be under control, ever since Bernice started carrying Audrey 2s…what a funny coincidence…), and reviewing the sales figures to understand customer buying behavior.

Not everything I’m calling focus activities require mental focus. Focus activities in this sense are just the activities focused on making real progress.

Some Activities Support You

A life of pure focus would be one of unimaginable progress, as you do only what’s needed to get results. But the universe isn’t that nice. In an effort to keep everyone employed, the universe invented the idea of “administrative activities.” These are activities that really don’t move things forward, but you need to do them to keep things running smoothly. These can be a huge source of overwhelm. Any one task is small, but there are lots of them.

When you fill out a form, unless it’s to place an order or acknowledge receipt of an order, it’s probably admin work. Expense reports? Admin work. Running to the store to buy extra office supplies? Admin work. Brushing your teeth? Admin work. Gotta keep those teeth working so you can chew efficiently!

Admin work usually doesn’t take much concentration, it’s scattered, and it usually only taxes a little time.

One person’s admin work can be another person’s focus work. Tracking receipts and preparing taxes is admin work for me. It has to be done, but it takes away from my focus activities. For my bookkeeper and CPA, however, it’s focus work. For me, spending two in-depth hours with a coaching client shifting their beliefs so they can accomplish something amazing is focus work. For my CPA, that would be non-billable time – pure admin work.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.