What to Do When You Are Overwhelmed at Work

March 31, 2015 1:05 pm Published by

According to research conducted by Deloitte and reported on Forbes.com, “two-thirds of today’s employees feel ‘overwhelmed.’” Because of the “proliferation of technology,” work-life balance has disappeared and the barriers that traditionally kept work and home separate have broken down.

The study identified the following key factors as contributing to feeling overwhelmed at work:

• Working too hard (40% of men work more than 50 hours per week)
• Distraction/multitasking (i.e., checking phones 150 times per day, literally)
• Information overload including: emails, conference calls, meetings and other distractions

If you are one of the two-thirds of employees feeling overwhelmed and overloaded, you’re not alone!

Here are five easy-to-implement tips to help you deal more effectively with feeling overwhelmed at work.

Tip #1: Finish Easy-to-Do Loose Ends. Sometimes overwhelm is caused by too many things left undone. Look at your task list and ask yourself, “What 3-5 things could I knock out fastest?” Targeting some of the low hanging fruit and crossing some things off your list will give you a quick sense of accomplishment and remove a handful of tasks contributing to your feeling of overwhelm.

Tip #2: Do Fun Things First. Most of your tasks probably aren’t “fun”. But some things you want to do more than others. If you find yourself in a funk, ask yourself, “What is there on my list that I want to do (or that I’d be willing to do) right now?” You may not get the most important things done first, but at least it will get you moving in the right direction! After all, it’s better to do something than nothing at all.

Tip #3: Do Feared Things First. Sometimes the anxiety surrounding things you don’t want to do bleeds over into everything else. You become paralyzed. As a result, you don’t move forward on anything because you are plagued by the one or two things you’re feeling anxious about. If this is the case, circle the “feared things” on your to-do list and knock them out first. It’s tough to do but it can reduce the time you spend feeling stressed and anxious by hours, days…or even weeks.

Tip #4: Ask Yourself, “What Do I Really Want?” When overwhelm sets in but it’s not caused by a “looming checklist” or a crisis to handle, it may be time to check in with yourself. You could be feeling like you’re out of alignment with your values or even wondering if you’re on the right path. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?” Is your answer consistent with the path you’re on? If so, great. If not, what changes can you make to get yourself back on track?

Tip #5: Prioritize. If you haven’t decided what to do with your time, every moment requires a decision. Every task you complete requires you to answer the question, “What am I going to do next?” Taking a block of time at the beginning or end of your day to plan the upcoming day’s work can save time, reduce stress, and keep you focused on the tasks at hand. Try using Covey’s ABC 123 method. Assign a priority level to each task: A=urgent and important, B=important but not urgent, and C=optional. Next, number all the A’s in the order you will do them, then the B’s, and C’s, etc. Then all you have to do is follow your plan for the rest of the day. No more decision making is required.

Addressing overwhelm is an important priority. When you feel overwhelmed at work, you’re less likely to take time out to evaluate the situation and take steps to address the problem. In other words, self-care drops to the bottom of your list.

Why not take five minutes right now to implement one of the tips above? Each one is designed to make your life easier. Five minutes to focus on yourself may be just what you need.

TAMI CALL helps purpose-driven entrepreneurs and business owners reduce overwhelm by aligning their faith, work and life purpose. Her FREE book  The Life Purpose Discovery Guide: 7 Tools to Help You Get Clear About Why YOU Are Here recommends easy-to-use tools to help you discover your gifts and find meaningful work you can enjoy.

To learn more about Tami Call, please visit www.GodandBusinessToday.com.

Also, to get a better sense of how stressful your workplace is (in comparison to others), check out the Ratings of Toxic Symptoms scale.

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March 31, 2015 1:05 pm

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