Schedule overload is a time management term used to describe a situation when too many tasks and events are added to a given schedule so a person(s) responsible for that schedule can no more do the job timely and efficiently with the same intensity and resources available. Such a situation means there’s imbalance or unreasonableness in the number or extent of tasks and events put on the schedule.
When a schedule is overloaded the entire work effort to which it relates (for example, a project, business process, etc.) gets under risk of failure. Inefficient time management practice is the key reason for schedule overload. Here are other possible reasons:
- Inefficient planning (when available human and time resources are inadequate allocated to tasks and events).
- Poor communication (when planners and performers cannot efficiently exchange information with each other).
- Lack of time and human resources (when a scheduled task cannot be done because there’re insufficient resources).
The problem of schedule overload can be successfully solved by taking the following preventive actions:
- Avoid scheduling parallel or simultaneous tasks to be performed by one person at a time.
- Set clear dependencies for scheduled activities.
- Use priorities to define execution order.
- Make preliminary assessments to determine an estimated amount of time and resources required to do scheduled activities.