Is there an efficient way to feel more focused, productive, and organized at work without feeling too overwhelmed? If so, how can we get these things done?
Pamela McLean, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO, Hudson Institute of Coaching
Overwhelmed Means Out of Touch with Our Self!
“There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done!”
Any chance you find yourself uttering these words? If your answer is yes, you have plenty of company. Today’s work environments are more demanding than ever and while technology creates more efficiencies, it also generates instant demand around the clock.
The most common remedies touted for this state of overwhelm are the usual suspects: getting more organized, developing clear priorities and staying focused.
While these are important, there’s a deeper layer we too often overlook that matters even more and allows us to take better advantage setting priorities and getting more organized. Starting at home means going inside!
Attend to Your Inner State.
How often in a busy day do you stop for a moment, go inside and ask yourself — how am I feeling, what’s my internal chatter? Too often we are racing at such a pace we forget to notice what’s happening inside us and how we are feeling.
When we pay attention to these internal cues we are able to adapt more rapidly and make some adjustments that alleviate that overwhelmed feeling. Try building a practice of ‘going inside’ mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Take a moment to check in with yourself and see what you learn.
Do you ever find yourself agreeing to take on a new project and moments later, wish you’d said no? Many of us rush to the ‘yes’ without considering the costs and consequences.
Pay attention to how quickly you move to ‘yes’. Do a 7-day audit and see where you could take a step or two to build a stronger boundary, taking a few more minutes before rushing to say yes.
Create a Centering Practice.
How often in a day do you notice your heart is racing and it’s hard to get focused? It’s hard to do our best work when our internal state is spinning out of control. Centering calms our system and the great news is it doesn’t require much time.
Experiment to find simple practices that will work for you — taking three deep breathes every 90 minutes, a 3-minute meditation, a sitting yoga pose or any calming practice that doesn’t even require leaving your desk.
Our experience of being overwhelmed starts inside, go inside first and support your ‘self ‘by building a daily practice or two that will allow you to do your best work!
Master Professional Coach | Author | TEDx Speaker
Overwhelm is sneaky. It seems like it is a good thing, a sign of being busy (ie.good and productive) person. However, it is damaging to us and counterproductive to accomplishment.
So what exactly is overwhelm? It is the experience of facing a mountain of to do’s, outside demands, internal demands and experiencing there is no way to get it all done.
If you don’t get it done, someone is going to be disappointed or upset and you might even get in trouble. Then, that feeling fuels the experience resulting in more and more pressure. Then you want to get out of ‘there’ or take a nap or drink some wine!
That vicious cycle causes us to produce negative neurochemicals (I call it the bad margarita!) that are responsible for stress and for the amygdala hijack aka fight, flight, freeze or appease others response.
The other side effect of that bad margarita is that our brain’s ability to multitask, create, empathize and be its brilliant self is actually stunted! So, we must break down and out of the feeling of being overwhelmed.
To do so is a process. First, you must get, it is not good for you. Then you have to get interested in breaking some habits and creating new ones. If you are on board with that, start writing a list. When you are overwhelmed it seems as if what you need to do is infinite. Writing a list as you get it is not. It is finite.
List everything someone or you expect to get done in each category. Then, go back and rank them. Create whatever system works for you. One I have found useful is using the 1 week, 1 month, quarter, year and someday as categories. Anything that needs to be done within a month must have a calendar occasion in which you have sufficient time to complete it.
Review the quarterly list every week and move things off that list and review the yearly list monthly moving things off.
They all must go in your calendar or they are incorrectly classified. Then tell the truth- you aren’t going to do that and move it to the someday (aka wish list) category. Use and honor your calendar- have it be a structure that gives you peace of mind.
Everything on there will get done when it is scheduled to, so you can stop being concerned about those items. Next, you must communicate to anyone expecting something from you when you will get it to them—and, super important—if you are delayed, let them know that. Always complete the circle of communication.
The other habit that I find is critical to stop feeling overwhelmed is to stop saying yes indiscriminately.
This is so common- when I ask clients why this is- the answer is some version of “So and So will be mad at me or disappointed if I say no” but when I point out that they are upset, disappointed, overwhelmed and otherwise impacted by their constant drive to say yes, they often wake up to this is a bad habit.
Start off by saying no to everything.
Not simply no but “No, let me look” and take the time to look in your calendar and your motivation and then tell the truth. I find this to be one of the most powerful exercises in not only decreasing overwhelm but in empowering oneself.
Deb Cohen, Ph.D.
President, Deb Cohen, LLC
Feeling overwhelmed? It’s the little things in life that count.
Making small, incremental changes, can be easy – yet have a considerable impact.
Once you decide what is causing you to feel overwhelmed, make a list of 5 things that can help – be realistic, make the changes small, and be sure they are all in your control.
Start on a Monday and implement one small change; for example: come to work 30 minutes early, block off 1 or 2 hours at the start of each day to focus, uninterrupted, on the things that overwhelm you (full inbox, report that’s due, contracts to review, etc.), work at a coffee shop for an hour each day, and so forth.
Every Monday, add a new incremental change – if a week isn’t enough for the new routine to become a habit, wait another week before adding another small change.
One fundamental change to consider, regardless of what is overwhelming you, is to take your lunch hour (or half hour) away from your desk. Even if you bring your lunch to work, try not to eat at your desk; take a short walk, change your environment for a while, breathe deeply, and clear your head.
There are lots of things that can overwhelm us each day – and there’s a lot we can do to deal with them as long as we are clear about what the stressors are and take responsibility to make incremental changes that will have a small influence which builds, positively, over time.
Psychotherapist | Writer
Feeling overwhelmed at work common and understandable. It’s important to focus on living for today and look ahead to tomorrow. Living for today is taking a deep breath, a quick walk outside, or savoring your coffee as a way of centering yourself amidst the tasks at hand.
Looking ahead for tomorrow is the cornerstone of true self-care.
What can I do today that will make my life more manageable tomorrow, even 5% more manageable? Do you need a new organizational system? Ask a colleague for help on how to streamline your workflow. Do you need to sort, file, and get rid of some paper cluttering your desk?
Literal clutter can make anything feel more challenging and overwhelming. Are you butting up against people making the same mistakes on delegated tasks, again and again, leaving you to fix them each time?
Check in with them and see if they feel overwhelmed or underappreciated. A tray of breakfast treats can go a long way in making others feel seen and valued. Even though you feel strapped for time, look for opportunities to invest a small amount of time that will result in a large return.
Being overwhelmed at work often spills over into our personal lives, resulting in a global experience of burnout.
If you’re on the brink of burnout, simplify things immediately. Focus on sleeping, showering, eating nutritiously, taking your medications, and drinking water, while maintaining professional and personal essentials.
When you have a handle on the basics, try adding in some indulgent self-care: take a bath, read a good book, light a nice candle, nourish your skin, cook a favorite meal, or reach out to a friend to say hi as a way to gain momentum back to your usual functioning.
Acknowledge that you are burnt out and you need help.
If you’re already in the midst of burnout, start by acknowledging the truth. After simplifying your life landscape, reach out to those close to you at work and tell them what’s going on. Ask for them to pick up some of the slack where they can, or to help you through things that are tough.
Try to work your way back up to fuller functioning by adding back tasks one at a time so you don’t quickly become over-saturated again.
Dr. Bryan Bruno
Founder & Medical Director, Mid City TMS
It’s totally natural to feel a bit overwhelmed from time to time, but it doesn’t have to bog you down. Here are a few sure-fire tips that will help relieve the pressure.
Take a step back.
Think of your brain like a computer. If it gets overworked, it will begin to freeze and lag. Take a step back and let your brain reboot. You’ll gain a new perspective and approach the task from a fresh angle.
Prioritize your tasks.
What absolutely must be done today? What can wait until tomorrow? What isn’t due until next week? Organizing your workload will relieve some pressure and allow you to do things one-task-at-a-time.
Ask for some help.
It may be hard to admit we’re in over our heads sometimes, but there’s no shame in asking for a little help. It happens to the best of us.
After you head home for the day, don’t let yourself think about work. Treat yourself – watch a movie, see some friends, have a nice meal; “turn off” for a bit and give your brain a deserved break.
Get a good night’s sleep.
Your brain and body repair themselves during sleep. Give yourself a chance to do this and approach tomorrow with a clean slate.
CEO & Founder, Clear Review
Employee burnout is a serious concern for businesses and employees. We all get stressed from time to time, but at times, work can become too much. To prevent your 9-5 from becoming a source of anxiety and ill-health, there are a number of steps you can take:
Be realistic with yourself (and with others).
The first step to resolving a problem is to admit there is one. Accept that you are feeling overwhelmed and resolve to do something about it. Discuss it with your manager and draw out a plan of action.
Suffering in silence won’t help you or your wellbeing. Neither will it help your company, who would much rather you come to work refreshed, eager, engaged and productive.
Discuss your current objectives with your manager.
Unrealistic or unclear goals are a huge source of employee stress. How clear are you on your SMART objectives? Do you think they are fair, or do you feel they are verging on impossible?
Constantly falling short of your objectives is likely to take a toll on you, your morale and your engagement levels. Collaborate with your manager and set about creating objectives that stretch your ability (but aren’t unrealistic) and are in line with company objectives.
Learn to say ‘no’.
You’re not a machine. You have your limits. If someone asks you to take on another task but you already have too much on your plate, be honest and firm. This can be difficult for people pleasers, but if you’re dreading doing a task or if you have to rush it, the task likely won’t get done to a satisfactory standard anyway.
We all need a break every now and then — it’s good for our mental health. Your job might be important, but so is your private life. What’s more, it’s been shown that going on holiday can actually improve your productivity when you return.
Stop having lunch at the desk.
Some toxic company cultures encourage this kind of behavior because they believe that hours in the office equate to actual productivity. In reality, it doesn’t matter how much time you spend at work — it’s what you get done that counts.
And you’ll probably get more done if you allow yourself a decent lunch break. Take the opportunity to go outside if possible. Fresh air can do wonders if you are feeling overwhelmed by work.
Get up and stretch your legs every 50 minutes.
If you have your eyes on a screen all day, periodic breaks are crucial for your wellbeing, both physical and mental. It’s surprising how even a short five-minute break can reinvigorate you for your upcoming work.
Stop checking work emails at home.
Most employees check work emails from home. This might show dedication to your role, but this access to work email might not always be helpful — or healthy.
If you don’t work remotely, what are the odds that you can do anything about the work email until 9 am the following morning? If you are feeling overwhelmed, begin by turning off your work phone when you get home and getting some space.
Make daily checklists.
Sometimes when we imagine all the work we have to do, it can feel overwhelming and intimidating. Writing down our tasks can help in many ways. Order your tasks based on importance and urgency and be realistic about what can be done in one day.
You will get a sense of satisfaction when you tick off the items and writing down your tasks might make you realize you don’t have as many jobs to do as you thought.
Remember there is more to life than work.
Work can be a huge part of our identity — but it’s not the only part. Your private life is important. Try your best to get some perspective and remember that work isn’t the be all and end all.
Let other people help you.
Collaboration is a beautiful thing. If you need help, ask for it. You’ll probably find that your coworkers are more than happy to help. You will probably benefit from the new insights and you will feel less burdened.
Allen Klein, MA, CSP
Author, Embracing Life After Loss | World’s only Jollytologist® | Speaker | TED Presenter
Sometimes when we are feeling overwhelmed, we just need a few things to remind us that it could be otherwise.
A funny prop, for example, could be a reminder to lighten up. Perhaps a wind-up desk-toy or jar of bubbles might easily do the trick.
A photo of our kids, pet, or loved one could lift us up reminding us of the good times we’ve had together. One of my favorite photos, that always makes me smile, is one of the time my teenage daughter wanted, and got, a cream pie thrown in her face. The joyous expression on her face is instantly contagious.
Executive Coach | Public Speaker
Practice mindfulness at work.
Overwhelm is often a bi-product of multi-tasking. You are working on a project and an email comes in and you see a notification pop up on your screen. Suddenly your mind is on the email topic, not the project you’re working on. Even if you didn’t stop to open the email, you lost your focus.
Now there’s a sense of anxiety happening because your mind is in more than one place. Not to mention the fact that you want to be out early today to get to a soccer game for your child. It’s all these things happening in your mind at one time that create the overwhelm. Most often, it isn’t the work itself.
By consciously choosing to focus on one task at a time, with your full attention, you have more peace. Try making each task, each meeting, each conversation, it’s own piece of your day.
If you’re going to work on a project, take a minute before you begin, take a few deep breaths and choose to give that project your full attention for as long as you are able to work on it.
Turn off your email notifications (if possible) and give that project your undivided attention. Do the same when entering a meeting. Don’t scan your emails while someone is talking. Choose to be present, fully at the meeting. It’s that choice that will help calm the overwhelm.
Mind the gap.
That’s my term for the small window of time that exists between a feeling, a thought and then an action. It’s a powerful fraction of a second that you get to actually choose what happens next.
For example. You feel anxious because your behind on a project, you think you’re going to get fired if you don’t finish on time, you act by rushing through the task and making mistakes. It doesn’t have to happen that way.
When you notice the feeling of anxious, you have to recognize what it is. Before the negative thoughts have time to take over in your mind, recognize the emotion and acknowledge it.
So it looks more like this…I feel anxious because I’m behind on the project, you take a moment to acknowledge it, and instead of letting the negative thought take over you use your gap to take a few deep breaths and replace the negative thought with – I want to do my best work on this so I won’t allow myself to rush…you calm down and you act by working diligently and with detail.
There is a gap of time before you react. Become aware of it and utilize it.
Learn to say no, or at least manage expectations.
There’s a problem that happens with managers and leaders. We pile the most work on the best people. Who wants to give a task to someone who doesn’t perform well?
We go to the best people all the time. Learn to manage expectations. Be honest and open when you’re too busy to take more on. Give the boss a choice. I can do either this with my full attention, or I can do that, which is most important to you at this moment?
Setting professional boundaries isn’t disrespectful. In fact, it shows professionalism. You care about the quality of your work. It’s better to say no than to burn out or produce sub-par work.
Rewire your brain with rewards.
Every time you begin to feel overwhelmed take over…slow down. Literally, close your eyes and breath in and out slowly until the feeling subsides. And, when it does subside reward yourself with a small reward.
It might be something as small as making a tally mark on a piece of paper on your desk. You get to add a mark every time you overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed.
When you hit 100 tally marks you’ve taught your brain a new behavior. Buy yourself a prize. Maybe it’s a drink after work, maybe it’s a pair of shoes. But 100 tallies means that you’ve overcome overwhelm 100 times. It’s time to celebrate!
The average workplace is more fast-paced than ever before. The most successful organizations churn out quality work – and they do it quickly. This can affect interns all the way up to CEOs.
Everyone, no matter their position or role in a company, can let stress take hold. So, when you’re under pressure, how do you keep from being completely overwhelmed?
To stave off the feelings of being overwhelmed, sometimes “letting go” is just the answer. Not everyone can complete every aspect of a single project with absolute assurance. If you are in a position to delegate specific tasks to other members of the team, do so without hesitation.
The best teams will ensure that everyone is working in the role for which they are best suited. If you need to discuss this with the team leader or manager, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. They want everyone to succeed, too!
Take a beat.
Now, everyone has probably heard that in moments of extreme stress, one should take a walk or step away from the situation for a few moments. However, in a real-world business scenario, that may not always be doable. Instead, get a little creative and implement something that works for you.
For example, ask a question to give you some time to collect your thoughts, or switch over to doing a task that you enjoy that’s stress-free. They also say that music is like therapy, and that’s definitely the case. Use earbuds, if it’s allowed, or center in on the music that plays throughout the office until those moments of stress pass.
Create a refuge.
Whether you have a corner office or a cubicle, fill your space with things that relax you and push stress away from your thoughts. Fun vacation photos can take you to another place for a few moments. You can also keep stress-reducing activities to do during a break. Anyone up for some adult coloring?
Sahara Rose De Vore
Founder, The Travel Coach Network
Workplaces are changing and adjusting to the shift in cultural and technological trends. This makes it easier to find ways to stop feeling overwhelmed at work. Here are three of my main ideas:
Prioritize and delegate tasks.
When you feel like you have a million and one things to get done, it’s no doubt that you will feel overwhelmed. Make a list of what you need to get done and rank them of most to least important. When you are organized, your mind feels more free and clearer. Then, see which tasks you can delegate to someone else which will lighten your load.
It’s easy to clam up and close yourself off to others when you have a ton on your plate but being able to interact with others and build relationships are great ways to reduce stress and see things more clearly. You can brainstorm and share ideas with others which may enable you to see things in a different way that you didn’t on your own.
Take advantage of work incentives and perks and take care of yourself.
When you are swamp with work, taking a vacation or going on a business trip can seem like the furthest thing from what you are able to do. See what travel policies, travel programs, or wellness programs your company offers and use them.
If you can work remotely, do so! If you can go on a business trip, go! If you can improve your work-life balance, do it! Some companies offer child day care or dry cleaning services. Some offer free gym memberships and healthy meal options.
Some even offer mental and medical services. You must take care of yourself both mentally and physically in order to think and work clearly.
Everyone has a life outside of work that may include a family, children, pets, errands to run, to-do lists, health issues, and mental struggles. Learn and use whatever your company offers and take advantage of it.
Things like travel can reduce stress, spark happiness, make you feel more fulfilled, feel appreciated and valuable, teach you new skills, help you learn more about yourself and what you want out of life, and so much more.
Lisa Sansom, MBA, MAPP, PCC
Founder, LVS Consulting
Write down your to-do list.
Yes, on a piece of paper. Get it out of your head. When you see it on a list, outside of you, it can sometimes feel more manageable. At the very least, you may feel validated for feeling overwhelmed. You probably do have a lot on your plate. But once you write it down, it can sometimes feel more manageable.
Are there things that other people can do? For example, if you need to deliver something somewhere, maybe someone else is already heading in that direction. You work on the 5th floor and need to take things to the mailboxes on the first floor? Maybe someone else is already heading downstairs. Even with little things, this can be a big help.
Ask for help.
Even if there isn’t a natural fit, ask others if they can take on a task, or pitch in.. Yes, it can be hard to ask, especially if you feel that others are also extremely busy. That said, pay it forward – they help you now and later down the road, you will help someone else. Create a culture in your workplace where it’s ok to ask for help and it’s ok to offer assistance.
Take a good hard look at your list and prioritize.
What is really critical for you to do now? What can really wait? And if you feel that “everything” is a priority, then ask for assistance prioritizing. Ask your manager or someone with more experience to help you sort through the tasks. When “everything” is a priority, then nothing is a priority.
What can you say “no” to? Don’t take on new tasks.
Push back, respectfully but firmly. And if someone insists on giving you more work, then ask them what they want you to put on the back burner so you can get to their priority. This is a genuine question – not snark. Enlist their assistance on prioritizing.
Set firm work or life boundaries.
This may sound counter-intuitive since we all want to be good employees and we often sacrifice our own personal time to get work done. In times of overwhelm, it’s critically important to look after yourself – that means eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water, getting lots of sleep and ensuring that you feel refreshed.
You will get more work done, more accurately, when you are feeling alert and healthy, rather than pushing it until 10 pm and feeling exhausted. When you are tired and overwhelmed, you are more likely to make mistakes and need to re-do the work, adding to the overwhelm.
Focus and chunk your time.
Multi-tasking is NOT your friend! Set aside focused undisturbed time to get through the work, one thing at a time. With focus, you may get into the flow of the work and become extra efficient and effective.
Take time to celebrate. Got something done! Hooray! Acknowledge it and take a moment to savor your accomplishment. That can give you the energy to move forward.
Realize that this will pass, as long as you take action.
You do have choices – more than you may realize. Some of them may feel difficult and awkward, but the choices are there. There will be an end to this overwhelm, and if you feel that it’s a chronic situation at work, then it’s time to push back and perhaps consider another place of employment.
Resolve to work differently in the future.
Enlist assistance and support – perhaps from your manager, your colleagues, your family, your friends, a coach, etc. Heavy work burdens is sometimes a necessary cycle in some jobs, but no one should be working in a place of overwhelming all that time.
That is not a healthy work situation, and it’s not sustainable. Resolve to make changes for your own health, and for the well-being of the workplace.
Founder & CEO, ThinkLions
Naturally, I am a very anxious person, and at one point, I felt that the stress of being a manager (and eventually an entrepreneur) would send me to an early grave.
Every day, I took the stress of work home with me, which affected my sleep. For a while, while my career success was everything I ever had dreamed, but I was miserable.
I talk to others about how I was feeling.
I learned that several of my co-workers were going through the same thing. We started a Slack channel together where we could discuss things that we were going through and form solutions.
Being a part of that community changed everything for me. It was nice to know that others had the same fears and anxieties, and some of them had great suggestions for overcoming the frustration I was feeling.
I also learned to schedule my day better.
I now schedule my day around my mental health. I make sure that I have some less intensive work in between heavier work to give my mind a temporary break.
I schedule in remote days.
I work from the park or the beach, breaking up the daily monotony of my four office walls. While I still deal with the same issues even when working remotely, being in a happier place makes problems seem a bit less significant!
CEO & Founder, United Capital Source Inc.
Block off time to focus on a single task.
When you are handed an endless list of tasks to complete, work can easily become an overwhelming place. Combat this by blocking off time to focus on a single task, turn off email notifications, silence your phone, and if needed enter a conference room or silent workspace to remove distractions.
When you are able to set time aside to move one action forward, a greater sense of achievement will be felt and a reduced sense of tackling all tasks occurs.
Take an emotional inventory.
Take a step back and take a kind of inventory of the things that are making you feel overwhelmed. Once you have this inventory you can easily work on each thing that is overwhelming you. This way you can face whatever issues you have at work head-on. Ultimately, the idea is to take what you learn from this exercise and use it to lessen your stress.
Founder & CEO, Eat Clean Meal Prep
Write a to-do list by hand.
Each day, I write out my to-do list by hand, tracking every task that I need to accomplish and each project I am working on.
I re-write the list every morning based on what was accomplished and what has not been completed. The more I write it down, the more drive I have to accomplish it. This is a visual way to stay accountable while keeping priorities in order.
CEO, She Started It!
Some ways to stop feeling overwhelmed at work are:
Take a break.
Even robots need rest. So when you already feel exhausted or overwhelmed with everything you’re working on, take time to breathe and relax.
Talk to your boss.
If you feel like work is getting the best in you, it pays to talk to someone who can help you deal with it. Go to your boss, tell him how you feel. Don’t worry, he’s not going to fire you for that.
Scout for training or workshops related to your work. It may help put the fire back.
Founder & CEO, SteveDeane.com
Focus on a single task only and complete it.
Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed in work, I choose a simple but important task and complete it.
Usually, it’s something that has been hanging around my to-do list for a while. The most important thing is to make sure the task is very simple and very achievable in around 15 minutes. It could be a phone call you’ve been avoiding. Or a report you have 90% complete.
Finishing the task will give you a great sense of achievement. Overwhelm generally comes from having 20 tasks half done. At least now you’ll only have 19 tasks to complete!
Co-Founder & CEO, Enterprise League
At times, we feel overwhelmed with work – meetings scheduled on every ½ hour morning till noon, micro-managing staff, contacting potential clients, following business news, and so much more.
My days were full, and it tired me a lot. Every day I felt the effects of overworking – immediately going to sleep when arriving home. I had zero time for anything else. I felt like I being trapped inside my work.
At some point, you must realize that you need to change something if you want to keep your health and sanity, and still succeed with your business. I understood that, adapted to the situation and found a solution to this common problem that many entrepreneurs face.
To remain energized, I scheduled a Monday to Friday gym exercise. You’ll probably think that the situation will get worse, but on the contrary, things changed for the better.
Additionally, I changed my diet to eat more nutritious and low-calorie meals and suddenly, I had more energy and felt like I could do anything. Furthermore, my insomnia disappeared and now I can sleep 7 hours per night, without interruptions! Overall, my body and mind feel rested every day and ready to tackle tasks at work.
Never forget to find a hobby.
Whether that hobby is reading a book or watching Netflix, you need to have time to let your mind unwind if you want to stay creative at work.
Finally, go out as much as you can, meet your friends, have a laugh and just appreciate your free time by living in the moment. Even though this is a personal journey, it applies to everyone no matter if they are a CEO or an employee. Keep your body and soul healthy, and your business will thrive.
Owner, Colorstone Marketing
Identify if you need training or additional skills for the task at hand.
Anytime I’ve felt overwhelmed, it’s been because I don’t know what I’m doing and need more skills in this area.
For example, when I first started my company, I had to be the sales guy. But I’m not a sales person and I’m an introvert- which makes it hard to be in sales. But I had to figure it out since the fate of my home and business was on my shoulders.
What I realized through some months of trial and error was that I just didn’t have the skills I needed yet.
So I invested in sales books, listened to podcasts, bought training, and grew my skills. Once I had the skills, the overwhelm started fading until sales became just another part of my daily routine.
Amy McCord Jones
Owner, Flower Moxie
Tackle your problems or difficult tasks head-on.
If you notice that you are becoming frequently overwhelmed at work it is helpful to pause and pay attention to the problems or tasks you are avoiding.
When an issue is being tackled head-on it is rarely overwhelming because the truth is: The struggle is the struggle. Meaning, feeling dread or anxiety about a particular issue is much worse than actually dealing with the problem itself.
Therefore, make a ‘Things I Don’t Want To Do‘ list and tackle those items first. You will feel a huge sense of accomplishment, the worry and dread will cease, and you can get back to the things you enjoy doing in your job.
Prioritize perceived difficult tasks.
As both a business owner and an employee I found it equally possible to get overwhelmed by the workload. What I have come to realize is that the overwhelm is rarely related to the actual level of workload and more a perception of task difficulty.
What I mean by that is having pending tasks that I perceive will be difficult or time-consuming leads to increased stress and feeling overwhelmed, and it’s easy to put these tasks off for days, or even weeks.
While I don’t really subscribe to the eat the frog – do the most difficult task first – mentality, my method is to make progress on at least one of the difficult tasks, every single day. Even if that’s just 10 minutes, you will find two things:
- Some tasks you perceive as difficult are actually very simple and can be completed quickly, or you have external blocks on completing them, which you need to resolve first, that makes the task an easy one.
- For the genuinely difficult or time-consuming tasks, breaking them down makes them so much less daunting, a bonus method I use when breaking a task down is if possible I will delegate smaller parts of the task whenever possible.
Personally tackling these perceived difficult tasks always reduces how overwhelmed I feel.
Founder & CEO, Freedom National Insurance Services
Recognize when to take a break.
Feeling overwhelmed at work is something just about everyone goes through. The key to coping with burnout is to recognize when you need to take a break.
I make sure to plan at least one vacation from the office per year. It doesn’t have to be an expensive getaway, just time when you are a hundred percent disconnected from work. No phone, no notebook or tablet.
Chief Communications & Strategy Officer, Community Health Charities
With budget cuts, hiring freezes, and many staff wearing multiple hats (and covering multiple jobs), almost everyone nowadays feels at times like there’s no way humanly possible to get it all done which can lead to feeling overwhelmed or overly stressed at work.
Here are a few tips on how to stop feeling overwhelmed at work:
Use a paper or digital planner to identify your priorities the night before or that morning and refer to it throughout the day to re-prioritize and ensure you accomplish what’s most important each day.
Sometimes I have 10 priorities listed and only accomplish 2-3 that day due to unexpected “emergencies” or interruptions, but then the remaining priorities move to the next day. Ask yourself, “does this really need to get done today?” Some people call this focusing on the “big rocks” and then filling the rest of your day with the pebbles and sand after you cover the big rocks.
If you have to, schedule time on your calendar to “work” on your most important priorities to avoid being booked in meetings all day.
Take “mental health” breaks – deep breathing, stretching, a quick walk outside in the sun during your lunch break, taking the stairs from the garage, talking with positive/encouraging colleagues.
Take care of yourself.
Get plenty of sleep, exercise, drink lots of water and eat healthy food to keep yourself mentally and physically strong.
Set a time for family and friends.
Spend time with friends and family and stay involved in activities that bring you joy and purpose – hobbies, volunteering, gatherings, etc.
There are things to be thankful for.
Keep a list of what you’re thankful for, journal, and try to stay positive and focus on the good – at least you have a job!
Talk to your primary care physician or a counselor if needed.
Speak to your boss.
If you have a safe, trusting relationship with your supervisor, consider asking them for help prioritizing your work or getting support. If your workload really is unrealistic on a regular basis and is impacting your health and you aren’t getting support from your supervisor/employer or seeing light at the end of the tunnel, you may want to look for a new opportunity.
Bear in mind that you may jump out of the frying pan into the fire as the grass often looks greener on the other side of the fence. In other words, almost all jobs feel overwhelming at times.
CMO, GoodLife Home Loans
Prioritizing one step at a time.
Being able to break down & prioritize extraordinary amounts of work/tasks one step at a time is essential for managing feeling overwhelmed in the workplace. It’s far too easy to feel overwhelmed when you view all of your incomplete tasks at once.
The key to coping with feeling overwhelmed is ordering your to-do tasks in order of importance based on various factors such as length of time to complete the task and task due date. Once your tasks are broken up in order of urgency, you can focus on one task at a time.
Once you do that, you will notice overwhelming feelings dissipate as each task is completed. You must always take long-term plans into consideration but the primary focus should be on short-term tasks that will ultimately get you to your long-term goals.
Don’t shy away from help.
The feeling of being overwhelmed can be quite significant if one feels they are all alone with their work. Most places people work to require a strong sense of collaboration & teamwork.
It’s essential to recognize instances where one may have taken on too much work and may need some help from others.
This does not imply that one should take advantage of co-workers and put work on them simply because they didn’t feel like doing the task.
An employee feeling overwhelmed can have a ripple effect, so as a superior, it is equally important to reach out and help if they notice an employee feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work they have. Asking for help can lessen one’s overall responsibility which can help mitigate feeling overwhelmed.
Separate what can and cannot be controlled.
One doesn’t always have to complete a task to feel less overwhelmed. Separating what one can and cannot control in their work environment can make one feel more at ease.
Being able to remind yourself that no matter what you do, some things may not go how you initially planned is actually a great exercise for relief. This should help those overwhelming feelings recede and allow one to focus on what is in their control.
There is no use on focusing on something that went wrong that was out of your control. Once you can solely focus on things that can be controlled, the overwhelming feelings that stem from those things you cannot control are irrelevant.
Turn off your devices at least one day each week.
In today’s world, when we can bring our work home with us via smartphones and laptops, I highly recommend turning off your devices at least one day each week.
Simply looking at a phone or computer is enough to remind one of the work’s anxieties. If at all possible, choose a day each week when you can turn off your work-related devices, store them away, and shift your thoughts to anything non-work related.
While it may feel self-defeating “sacrificing” a whole 24-hour cycle without tackling any work-related task, you are going to be hitting a mental refresh button. Without at least a one day break each week, you will soon break down under the stress of never-ending pressure from work.
Chief People Officer, Herald PR
Reserve paid time off for mental health days.
While it’s great to save your PTO for travel, I also encourage employees to reserve a few days a year for mental health purposes when they’re feeling overwhelmed at work. We face pressure and expectations from all facets of life, and if you can manage it, take a day once in a while where you unplug from work, email, and social media.
The day should be spent in a way that will rejuvenate and relax you, and that means something different for every person. It could be going on a hike, spending time with family, or going to a yoga class. Taking a full day just for yourself away from work can bring a sense of calm, give you clarity, relieve stress, and really improve your overall mood.
Utilize your mid-day break in a productive manner.
We spend 8 hours or more a day sitting at our desks and in meetings, and it’s taxing on our body and minds. Whenever an employee is overwhelmed or stressed, I suggest that they take a walk and get an iced coffee.
It’s amazing what a short walk, fresh air, and a cold drink can do for your energy level and mood. I personally try to be proactive and I take that walk before I get to the point of feeling overwhelmed.
Make sleep a priority.
It’s the most common piece of advice, but it’s the best one. Create a healthy sleep environment, keep a sleep schedule, and stick to it. The best thing you can do for yourself is to also keep your phone in another room while you sleep.
Our phones have trained us to be on high alert and they need to be removed from the equation so we can have peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. The emails and texts will be there in the morning.
VP of Marketing, Adzerk
Talk to your boss for re-assignment.
It is better to be overwhelmed at work than being underwhelmed at work! Jokes apart, we all have been there some time, when the sheer volume of work at hand makes us feel out of sorts. But for one to feel that one is just not equipped to do one’s work is a serious matter.
If you are new to a job, some degree of nerves are understandable, and things do get better with time. If one is undergoing a personal crisis, one can feel overwhelmed at work and this is something that too will likely become okay with time when things get better with you.
However if one feels the chronic panic of this sort at work, one needs to address the core issue. If you have been overburdened with work, you can talk to your boss and get the matter resolved. On the other hand, if you feel that you need some help with doing the work, you should go ahead and ask for it. Finally, if you feel that you are a misfit in the job that you are performing, you should ask for another assignment or leave the job.
Feeling overwhelmed at work is something that definitely needs to be addressed, and the sooner the better.
Managing Director, Edge of the Web
Early on in my career, I was young, motivated and wanted to impress. I eagerly took on more responsibilities, never said no when people asked for favors and always worked into the evenings to make sure things got done.
Looking back, it was rather naive of me, and before long I was absolutely swamped and overwhelmed. I couldn’t focus on tasks because I was constantly swapping between them – and with new tasks always being assigned to me, the pile of work seemed to grow rather than get smaller. To help, I came up with a few basic rules that make things easier – and it worked! Here they are:
Make a checklist and cross tasks off as they’re completed.
This is often repeated, but it really helps with the mental side of things.
Break large tasks down into smaller sub-tasks.
Think of it like a recipe – break it down into the smaller jobs that need doing in order to complete the task. This works well alongside the first rule.
Complete short tasks immediately.
If a new, simple task comes in and can be completed within 10 minutes, just get it done right away (if possible). Coming back to it later when it’s out of your mind and you need to re-familiarise yourself with it will inevitably end up taking longer
Learn to acknowledge your limitations.
The fourth and final rule was important for me personally, and might help others – but learn to say “Sorry, I can’t help with that right now”. People are often more understanding than you might think.
I didn’t always stick to the rules – especially number 4 – but they still made a big difference to how I was perceiving my workload. I also felt like I was more efficient because the more simple tasks were getting done quickly rather than hanging around in the back of my mind, and most importantly – I didn’t feel overwhelmed anymore.
Ten years later and I still stick to these 4 basic rules and it keeps me feeling sane, despite always being busy.
Galit Ventura-Rozen, M.A.
Business Performance Expert | Professional Speaker | Author, The Successful Woman’s Mindset
Plan a list for tomorrow.
Before you leave the night before, do the following to prepare for the next morning. (For Monday, come into work 30 minutes early to complete the following to prepare for your week).
- Have a list of the deadlines for the week.
- Prioritize that list by the deadline date.
- Prioritize the list of items that must be completed on the same day by what will take the longest vs the shortest amount of time.
- Once that list is completed set it aside for the next day.
Focus on the list.
When you arrive to work you focus on that list and limit your distractions.
- Set up a set time to check emails in place of checking them and replying every time you receive an email.
- Do the same with texts, do not open them or respond unless it is urgent.
- Focus on one task at a time, and once completed then focus on the next task.
- Mark them off the to-do list as you complete them
- Each time you complete a task or project, get up, walk around, grab some coffee and take a few moments before you start the next one.
Overwhelm is caused by the big picture, break down your job, tasks, to do list, projects into as many small steps as you can and the big picture is not as overwhelming.
Vice President, Tigris Events, Inc.
Feeling overwhelmed at work will hinder an individuals performance, therefore it is important to create a stress-free environment. To begin, we encourage employees to create a weekly task list with items listed by priority.
If we are able to delegate tasks, we will take some items off their plate. Each and every project can be broken down into compartments, so it’s simply a matter of delegation and time management.
Stimulate a motivational work environment.
In addition, having a motivational work environment will ease the feeling of being overwhelmed; if staff have a ‘buddy/partner’ to talk to, outlets to de-stress (such as a nap room or time to workout on their lunch break) this will help their emotional state.
Mindfulness Speaker | Author, Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind
Stressed at work? Keep in mind that it’s often one’s response to a situation that causes stress, rather than the situation itself. For instance, if your boss tells you that you need to have a private meeting together, your mind might start spinning out stories and thoughts might cycle through your mind such as:
“Did I do something wrong?“, “Am I going to get laid off?” Or if a co-worker constantly chats on the phone and you’re having trouble concentrating, you might add to your stress by focusing on thoughts such as “I can’t stand the way she talks on the phone all the time. She’s the worst office-mate I’ve ever had!“
Consider interrupting the cycle of thoughts that amplify your stress.
This doesn’t mean you should deny the way you’re feeling; however, it means that by shifting your focus to something else, it can reduce your stress.
For instance, one large corporation I worked with has a long canopy leading into the building. I suggested employees practice walking meditation for the one or two minutes they walk under the canopy. I suggested that as they enter the space beneath the canopy, they try to release thoughts about the past and future—and instead, simply notice what they see, hear, or feel.
Another group I worked with had a long hallway in their suite of offices. I suggested they practice a walking meditation whenever they walked the hallway, noticing the soles of their feet connecting with the ground.
A group that has a clock that rings hourly has a perfect reminder to pause at the sound of the bell for a minute and notice how it feels just to breathe, noticing the coolness of the air upon inhaling and the warmth of the air upon exhaling.
By integrating “mindful moments” into their workday, employees can greatly reduce their stress.
Growth Consultant | Entrepreneur
Even though some jobs lend themselves to being more stressful and unpredictable than others, there is a simple solution to help you stop feeling overwhelmed at work.
Recognize your limitations, and learn to say “no”.
As simple as this concept is, in reality, it is much larger than just saying no to projects or assignments from your superior. It also requires the discipline to be able to say no to yourself, your loved ones, and others who are trying to interfere into your day.
Saying “No” starts when you make your schedule of assignments and tasks that need to be completed for your workday. Even if you work in a position that is, by its very nature, reactive (think E.R Doctor) there are still items that have to be completed on a daily basis, to ensure that you can focus on your large assignments of the day (like saving someone’s life.)
Most people do not know how to properly schedule a day, that allows time for the unpredictabilities that life has the tenancy to throw at us, and therefore start to feel overwhelmed as the pile of work that we have grown larger.
By figuring out how to say no to the unimportant items, and scheduling out the appropriate amount of time for the things that absolutely need to be accomplished, we not only stop feeling overwhelmed but can also start to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Cerila Gailliard, PMP, CSM
Project Management Professional Consultant | Owner, OYS LLC
Prioritize and plan.
Feeling overwhelmed is paralyzing. Picture you sitting down in a chair, surrounded by 20 people and everyone yelling at you to complete two to three activities.
You are sitting there feeling helpless and trying to figure out where to begin. The reason why people feel overwhelmed at work is they fail to prioritize and they fail to plan their activities. All activities cannot be number on any given day.
The person should take the time and write down all their activities for the day or week. Then, prioritize all the activities. Once you prioritize each activity pull out your calendar and begin to fill in each activity you will complete
for the day and estimate how long it will take you to complete. This is the planning piece. Also, determine if you can delegate any of these activities to other co-workers. I would also suggest you leave some hours open for unforeseen issues
which may pop up that day. You will be amazed at the amount of work you can get done if you only Prioritize and Plan out activities. As a result, your confidence will soar!
Career Success Coach, Capdeca Solutions LLC
Know your true priorities.
Every ambitious professional I meet experiences overwhelm at work; I spent more than half a decade working in startups and can certainly relate to when the amount of work that needs to be done far exceeds the number of people and hours in a day.
The average American works more than 50 hours per week, and I regularly speak to people who are doing 60-70 hours per week, even though this is actually hurting their productivity, adds to their overwhelm and keeps them from anything resembling work-life balance.
Most people think the problem is the amount of work, unrealistic expectations on team members and even blame the working culture of more is more when it comes to hours and tasks, but none of those things is the problem, these are just symptoms.
The real problem is that most professionals are focusing on the wrong things – and if you’re an overachiever, you have probably taken on too much and are trying to overachieve on everything you do which is taking up your time.
Instead of getting you ahead and helping your company succeed, this is holding you back and keeping you in the place of overwhelm, stress, and ultimately stuck in your current role with little to no personal life.
Knowing what the true priorities are, and not just responding to the crisis of the moment or overinvesting time where there is little to no ROI, is how you resolve to overwhelm at work and free up time to do the things you want outside of work.
Give your mind a chance to wander.
If you feel overwhelmed or a lack of creativity, you may just need to give your mind a second to breathe. Problems that seem unsolvable could become very clear after you do this.
This is a great solution when you don’t know what to prioritize or you find yourself overcomplicating a solution to a problem.
If you don’t have the flexibility in your job to wander, try to find an excuse. Offer to make photocopies, or even take out the trash. Anything to get you away from your desk ad your mind breathe a little.
Listening to a podcast may also be a good idea to stop your brain from thinking about the work you’re trying to take a break from.
Marketing Manager, Orbital Fusion Technologies
Organize your projects in a way that makes sense to you.
Use a task management tool to organize your tasks so that you know which tasks to prioritize based on deadlines.
Having everything on one platform would also mean that you can monitor the progress of projects and better manage all the work assigned to you. When you tick off tasks, you’ll feel more accomplished; when you feel that you’re in control of things, you’ll feel less overwhelmed.
Next, when you’re feeling unfocused, be sure to take a short break. If you work in an office, head to the pantry for a snack or to the nearest store to get a drink. If you work remotely, make use of your freedom to do a short workout, make yourself a snack or watch the latest video from your favorite YouTube channel.
Make time to do the things you love – spend time with your loved ones, read the book that your favorite author just released or watch the latest episode of your favorite Netflix show.
Lastly, if you feel burnt out, book a ticket and take a trip to recharge. It would be good for companies to have a bi-annual or annual retreats to bond and relax together as a team.
As an employee, it’s your duty to contribute your most valuable skills. But as an individual, you’re also responsible for taking care of your own health. Only you know what works for you, so listen to your body and do what you need!
Client Success Manager, Employment BOOST
Take advantage of other resources.
Use resources you can find online to help you complete your tasks or projects. When feeling overwhelmed, it’s always a best practice to reach out to your team and ask for help. You never want to be in a situation where you’re unable to deliver a final product.
Use time between appointments to multitask.
Many times, you don’t realize the opportunities you have to multitask. Take advantage of the time between waiting for a phone call, meeting, or next appointment to send emails or check on voicemails. Sometimes 10 minutes is all it takes to get caught up.
Plan ahead of time.
Take time the night before you head into the office and develop a plan of action for the next day. Keep control of your calls, voicemails, and emails – this in return helps you control of workflow.
Database Operations Division Manager, Virtual Vocations
Set limits for yourself.
For me, this means setting firm office hours—and sticking to them, even though that means I can’t always get it all done in one day—and being honest with myself and my boss. I had to learn to say no to extra projects when I’m already feeling like I’m stretching myself thin, and I had to be okay telling my boss that I’ve reached my limit.
When there’s nothing I can do to lighten my workload, I don’t hesitate to take a mental health day or even just go for a walk. Getting out and away does wonder for the body and the mind!
Commercial Photographer, Merrily Creative Company | Business Educator | Speaker
Give enough time for health and personal life.
As a commercial photographer and business educator, the weight and chaos of running multiple businesses can easily overwhelm me on any given day. The best way I’ve found to keep from becoming overwhelmed is to make sure I balance my schedule as much as possible.
To ensure I’m giving my health and personal life at the same time priority as I give my businesses, I put that time into my calendar.
Workouts, date nights, even if I just TV time or want to go on a walk – it all goes on my calendar. And just as I would never cancel an appointment with a client, I try my best to never cancel an appointment with myself.
This also helps me see my time on my calendar more efficiently, so I can see if I actually have the time to take on that project or do that something extra for a good client.
Making my personal life as non-negotiable as my business has been the best defense for becoming overwhelmed at work, and I recommend it to everyone who asks!
Content Manager, Best Company
As a content manager, I am constantly handling multiple projects at a time; I spend a lot of my time writing articles, responding to emails, managing guest posts, and researching new SEO tools.
On average, I would say my weekly to-do list has about 30+ tasks I need to get done. Needless to say, it can all be a bit overwhelming.
The best thing I have found to stop feeling overwhelmed at work is productivity. If I can remain productive throughout the day, by the time I go home, I usually feel less overwhelmed by all my pending tasks.
In order to remain productive, I used several tactics to help my day go as planned and found the right solution for me. However, what works for me, isn’t always best for someone else. Here are a couple of ideas on how to feel less overwhelmed at work.
Create a schedule that works for you.
Despite what thousands of TV programs and books have told you, no secret schedule will maximize productivity for everyone. Our particular strengths and weaknesses play a significant role in our time management and productivity. It’s all about finding what works best for you.
There are those who swear that planning out your day in advance and “blocking” your tasks is the best way to remain productive. This requires a little more effort as you will need to determine what you want to accomplish and when you’ll accomplish it. This method is excellent for those who do well with a strict schedule and can focus in on a single task.
Do the most important task first.
This method focuses on what’s imperative and getting those done first. The idea behind this method is that you get started on essential items before getting distracted. All your emails and other notifications can wait until you get your first two or three most important tasks finished.
The Pomodoro Technique has people work in short, productive, focused bursts. However, after that initial burst, you take a short break. The technique is simple as you set the timer for 25 minutes, work until your timer goes off, take a short break, and repeat. This technique allows people to get their job done while taking enough breaks, so they don’t become mentally worn out.
The most important thing about time management is that you find something that fits your work schedule and needs. Some tasks will need a hybrid of these methods or you may switch methods depending on your assignment.
Prioritizing your schedule may take some time but it will be worth the effort as you’ll feel less overwhelmed at work.
Related: Does the Pomodoro Technique Work?
Listen to music that keeps you focused.
Music has a way of affecting us — both physically and mentally. It also has the unique power of benefiting us or distracting us, especially while we’re at work.
A 2012 Time Magazine article, explains that listening to music at work can affect our ability to absorb and remember new information. Although, the same study revealed that music at work can “lift your mood” and in some conditions will actually improve your performance.
However, music is unique to individuals. What is calming for one person, might drive another crazy. As I am working, I like to have a Study/Meditation soundtrack playing in the background.
The natural sounds help keep my head clear and having no lyrics stops me from getting distracted. My coworker loves to listen to rap while working, and while I don’t understand it, the steady beat and lyrics motivate her to get her work done.
Personally, music that is calming and helps me relax increases my productivity, which in turn leads me to feel less overwhelmed.
Public Relations Media Specialist, Menora Park
Depending on your position and what type of industry you work in, the overwhelm can come from various places on various days.
As a communications specialist and A-type personality, multi-tasking is a must and as recent research has proven, multi-tasking is extremely hard to do and remain effective without becoming overwhelmed with half-finished or interrupted projects and deadlines that loom.
Remain organized even in the crazy.
Make a list and prioritize! Understand that you cannot effectively do 100 things at once. Choose a time to do tasks that can be flexibly done, such as getting back to someone or checking emails frequently. Stay focused on the task at hand. Line tasks up in order of due dates, and mark off only when completely done.
Utilize your team!
If someone asks to help, let them! Delegate, and utilize volunteers if your position allows. Don’t be afraid to push back on deadlines and when scheduling meetings, make sure that a meeting is truly required, and that it’s not something that could be handled with a five-minute phone call instead of a 20-minute meeting.
Financial Blogger, Stepping Stones to FI
Schedule a time-block to review your tasks.
As soon as you start feeling overwhelmed, schedule a one-hour time block to review your tasks. During this block, make a list of all your tasks. Categorize them by high priority, mid-level priority, and low priority tasks. Of the high priority tasks, list them in order of importance.
For the mid-level tasks, place a deadline for the tasks that must be completed in the near future. For those that don’t have immediate deadlines, move them to the low priority tasks. For the low priority tasks, a mark which tasks can be delegated and schedule time to assign them to the appropriate person
Next, start with your highest priority task and break it down into the actionable steps necessary to complete it. Schedule one-hour uninterrupted time blocks into your day to compete with each task.
Within each time block, focus on the actionable tasks and ignore all other distractions such as email, phone, and coworkers. Focus on only one single task at a time. Once you complete the first high priority task, repeat the process with the next task.
Begin each morning reviewing your top tasks for the day.
Break each task down into actionable steps, then schedule a time to complete your tasks.
Learn to say no.
Only attend meetings that are absolutely necessary and ensure that they are focused and do not run over time.
Schedule meetings close together.
This ensures that you can free up more of your time for important tasks. Additionally, schedule meetings during the second half of the day in order to utilize your most productive hours for important tasks.
Protect your time.
Do your highest level tasks at the beginning of the work day and protect that time. Lock your office door or create a do-not-disturb sign, turn off devices, block your web browser if you find yourself checking email or social media during your time block
Allow for breaks between your scheduled time blocks.
Breaks are essential. They allow you to refocus and remain productive throughout the day. Go for a walk outside, stay hydrated and eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day.
General Manager, Emily’s Maids
You feel overwhelmed because you keep focusing on too much. These three tips will greatly help you.
First, focus on smaller tasks.
Any problem is just a sum of smaller problems so don’t multitask. Choose one task, then stick to it. Less is more.
Second, focus on the present.
Overwhelm comes from knowing that you need more time for more task so focus on your current task and don’t jump on another task that will be in a few days. Keep your streamline clean and don’t get ahead of yourself.
The final tip is to create relax.
There are great apps that could help you. Social media is restructuring our brains so relax and enjoy the little moments. If you can go 15 seconds without feeling the pressure you will have a better experience.
Public Relations Officer, Acadium
Take an apprentice.
I truly believe that if more people took on an apprentice, they would feel less overwhelmed at their job.
It could also create a more rewarding and less expensive education system for all. The apprentices would gain real-life experience, learn new skills through a hands-on learning opportunity and be a step ahead in launching their careers.
The business or employer would gain additional help so they can stop feeling overwhelmed at their job. I’ve watched as businesses have benefited from taking on an apprentice through my current job and know that it can benefit both sides positively.
One thing that causes a lot of stress for people at their job, is the time and effort spent on tasks not directly aligned with their position. Especially in growing companies, employees are depended on to do things, not in their job description.
A young staff member, or apprentice, can lighten the load while climbing the ladder as a junior member of your team by completing some of these tasks.
Head of Digital Marketing, Your Parking Space
If possible, you can put a few things for tomorrow.
Sometimes, we try to do too many things at the same time. We want to finish the job in the next couple of hours, although there’s just too much stuff to do. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.“
I would actually say that sometimes, you should put off a few things until tomorrow when you feel totally overwhelmed at work.
There’s no use doing a bad job because you feel pressured to finish everything today. Don’t blame yourself if you postpone a few things for the next day. You’ll be much more focused and able to finish the task at hand if you take a bit more time.
Digital Content Manager, Fueled
You can easily feel overwhelmed at work when you blur the line between work and personal life.
If you find yourself constantly checking emails after hours or repeatedly staying late in the office to finish up your assignments, those are some tell-tale signs that you forgot how to have a healthy work-life balance.
Setting up a to-do list for each day can be incredibly helpful when you’re trying to improve your time management and prioritizing your tasks by workload. Whether you’re writing them up on a post-it or making reminders in your calendar, make sure to categorize your assignments depending on their due dates and the number of work hours they require.
Try your best to wrap up everything by 5:00 PM— and even if you don’t reach your goals, leave the rest for the next. There are only so many hours in a day, and you don’t want to waste them away worrying about what you couldn’t complete!
Blogger, Because Mom Says
Avoid pressuring yourself too much.
The harder we work and the more pressure we put upon ourselves, the more we experience overwhelm. The first step in combatting this is recognizing it and addressing it before it becomes too much to handle.
When we realize that we’re feeling stressed or overloaded, it can help to list out what needs to be done so that we can effectively prioritize tasks. When you take the time to break down the tasks and conquer them one at a time, it is much less overwhelming.
You may have a big project that is demanding your attention and contains multiple different parts. If you tackle each piece of the project, one at a time, it will all come together before you know it with much less stress and overwhelm.
This is because instead of focusing on one large overwhelming project, you conquered each small step, piece by piece.
Frequently Asked Questions
What role does self-reflection play in reducing feelings of being overwhelmed at work?
Self-reflection can help you identify patterns or behaviors that may be contributing to feelings of being overwhelmed at work. Here are some tips for self-reflection:
– Take time to reflect on your work day or week and identify the moments when you felt overwhelmed or stressed.
– Think about what causes you to feel overwhelmed, such as unrealistic expectations or a lack of resources.
– Reflect on your own behavior and reactions to stress and consider whether there are areas where you can make changes to better manage your stress levels.
– Consider seeking feedback from colleagues or a mental health professional to gain additional insight into your own behavior and stress management strategies.
When is it appropriate to seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed at work?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work and it’s affecting your daily life, relationships, or overall well-being, it may be appropriate to seek professional help. Here are some other signs:
– You suffer from persistent feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression.
– You have difficulty controlling your feelings or reactions to stress.
– You suffer from physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems, or chronic pain.
– Your work performance or relationships are negatively affected by your feelings of being overwhelmed.
– You find it challenging to change your habits or behaviors on your own.
Remember, seeking professional help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It’s important to prioritize your well-being and seek support when needed.
How can I maintain my energy level at work?
Eat a balanced diet: A balanced diet that includes healthy carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats can help you have energy throughout the day.
Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water throughout the day can help you stay alert and focused.
Take breaks: Taking short breaks throughout the day can help you recharge your energy and avoid burnout. For example, go for a walk outside or do a short meditation exercise.
Get moving: Regular exercise can help boost your energy level and improve your overall well-being.
Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is vital to maintain your energy levels. Aim to sleep 7-9 hours every night.
Manage stress: High levels of stress can contribute to fatigue and burnout. Practice stress management techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
Avoid energy drinks and sugary snacks: While they can provide a temporary energy boost, consuming too many energy drinks, or sugary snacks can cause a drop in energy later in the day.
Should I quit my job due to stress?
Whether or not you should quit your job due to stress depends on your individual situation. It’s crucial that you first try to eliminate the factors that are causing your stress before leaving your job. Here are some points you should consider:
Determine the cause of your stress: Try to figure out what aspects of your job are causing you stress. Make a list of these aspects and evaluate them thoroughly.
Talk to HR or your supervisor: They may be able to provide resources or help you alleviate stress.
Consider taking time off: If you find that you need a break or a fresh start, you could use your vacation.
Reflect on your decision: Quitting can be overwhelming, so be sure it’s the right decision for you. Consider the financial impact and any long-term benefits or consequences.
Think about other options: It’s helpful to consider possible new jobs or career paths and what options might be less stressful.
It’s essential to prioritize your health and well-being. If you find that you have tried various stress management strategies and are still suffering negative health effects, quitting your job may be a reasonable option.
But make sure you’ve thought through the possible consequences and have a plan for moving forward.
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