How to Deal with Overwhelming Overload

There are only 24 hours in a day ... or are there? Get-It-Done Guy Stever Robbins gives you the tools to get the most productivity out of every day.
Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #535

Task lists! Meetings! Software! Responsibilities! Obligations! Too much to do! Welcome to the 21st century. We’re in the most technologically advanced period of the human race, and yet we’re overwhelmed, overworked, and overloaded more than all generations that have come before. 

Take, for example, Bernice, proud owner of a chain of Green Growing Things plant stores. She has stores to run, inventory to review, marketing materials to produce, employees to hire, a wedding to plan (she’s been planning this darned thing for ten years now). She also has yoga, singing lessons, socializing, cooking, teaching class as an adjunct professor of carnivorous plants, and hugging her shmoopie.

You’ve probably got a similar lineup. And even though you enjoy each activity on its own, the combination is too much. It’s enough to beat down even the strongest person’s mojo. So it’s up to you to Tame the Overwhelm. Using … a calendar.

First, there are some hard truths to confront:

The Hard Truths of Time Management

Truth #1: There are only 24 hours in a day.

You can’t just work hard and get 25 hours’ worth of work done. Things just take time. Nine women can’t join forces to have a baby in one month.

As we covered in Get-it-Done Guy episode 484, How to Plan Properly with Deadlines and Milestones, schedule slips are very hard to recover from. If you fall behind by one day, it takes four days of 25% overtime to make up the lost work. That’s basic math.

You need slack time to catch up from unexpected delays. Slack time isn’t a luxury. You need to schedule it.

Truth #2: You need to get better at estimating.

You have to know how long things take before you can do a good job scheduling them. How long will it take to build a robot minion, construct a secret laboratory, and take over the world? Two weeks, of course. But if you only allocate six days in your schedule, you’ll be eight days behind, before you’ve even started. 

Truth #3: You need energy and motivation.

You need energy. And relaxation! And motivation! That means taking rest and recuperation as seriously as work. Otherwise you're on the road to Burnout Town. You need a system that can handle all of that. Fortunately, a simple calendar can do all this heavy lifting. 

Get-It-Done Group member Elizabeth Perry has the perfect solution...


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.