How to Avoid Taking On Too Much Work

Make sure your idea of a day's work is realistic.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #126

It’s OK to be Average

Having an average day over and over can lead to above-average results! 

Average ain’t so bad. I do a lot of writing. I like to imagine I can write ten pages a day. For me, that’s a good day. I regularly push myself that hard, and I regularly fall very, very short of that goal. What would be average? Writing two pages a day. Two pages a day would be average. That doesn’t sound like much. And yet … I write only two pages a week of podcast scripts, and I’ve written over 120,000 words of finished scripts in two years. That’s the equivalent of a 300-page printed book! If I’d written two pages a day, I would have written three books in those two years. Average days add up over time.

How to Set Realistic Goals

Let’s put this to work. Choose something you’re overcommitted on, even if the commitment is just to yourself. Something you’ll do today: making sales calls, filing reports, or knitting exciting underwear. Maybe you’ve decided you secretly want a job performing with the circus, so you’re quietly sending out resumes, hoping for an interview as an elephant juggler. Notice your mental fantasy about how much you can get done in a day. “I can send out 250 resumes a day. Not a problem.” Get real. Ask what an average day of elephant juggler resume sending would be. Maybe sending out five resumes and researching for an hour to find more circuses in need.

Now multiply that by five to get an idea how much you’d get done in a week. Five resumes a day would mean 25 resumes a week. Multiply by 4 to discover how much you’d do in a month. Five resumes a day would be 100 resumes a month, or 600 resumes in six months, along with more than two full work-week’s of research. That could add up to a lot of elephant juggling.

You can do this with several different ongoing responsibilities. You’ll discover that having an average day over and over can lead to well above-average results.

And now if you’ll excuse me, my biceps are crying out for attention. If I visit the gym three times a week and do two sets of ten hammer curls, that’s 60 hammer curls a week. Manly man physique, here comes Stever!

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!


Overworked Businessman image courtesy of Shutterstock



About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins 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. 

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