Reduce Stress and Restore Work-Life Balance

How to deal with stress is a mystery to many of us type-A personalities. Get-It-Done Guy shows you that a little, explicit work-life balance and self-care can go a long way.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #356


You gotta love it...at least until it drives you to the point of raising a zombie army and trying to take over the world. That's when it gets a little over-the-top.

For many of us, stress is caused by poor work-life balance and how to deal with stress isn't obvious. What we need is a little less self-flaggelation and a little more self-care.

Since you're listening to a podcast on productivity, I'm going to take a wild, fanciful, glorious guess and suggest that you're an overachiever. Or you're my parents.

Part of being an overachiever is the nagging fear that you're not getting quite enough done, even when you are. Part of being my parents is the sincere belief that you've done enough, even when you haven't. My therapist and I are working on it.

For us overachievers, we really believe if we just do "a little bit more," then Everything Will Be All Right. Of course, we did a little bit more yesterday and is everything all right today? Nope. All we've done is upped the bar.

If you want to know how to reduce anxiety by getting things done, setting goals like "a little bit more" isn't the way to do it.

How to Deal with Stress? Set Specific Goals

First of all, if you want to know how to deal with stress, look to your goals. What are they? How long have you had the same goals without reaching them? Is there any reason to believe you'll do it this time?

If you've had the same goals for a long time, maybe they're too big. Yeah, you're supposed to have a BHAG, or "Big Hairy Audacious Goals." But if you make them too big, too hairy, and too audacious, then they will just sit in the corner eating all your protein bars and scratching itself.

The Buddha would say that if you use this technique enough, you'll be present and love your life right now.

The reason your goals are too big may be because you've stated them as comparatives, rather than as absolutes. Someone once asked John D. Rockefeller, "How much money is enough?" His answer, "Just a little bit more." Isn't that pathetic? No, seriously. Stop and think about it. He's the richest man in the world, he can do anything he wants, and basically he's still pursuing money. I'll bet he was the most interesting guy at the cocktail party. Yawn.

Instead of pulling a Rockefeller, set a specific goal. "Enough money is $100 million in the bank, after taxes." It's still a pretty shallow goal, but it's a specific shallow goal.


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.