Best Practices
October 15, 2022

Feeling Overwhelmed at Work? Do These Things.

Learn about helpful tips for managing your workload and lowering stress levels. 
Team Opal
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Do you feel overwhelmed at work? Unfortunately, this is how many feel, especially in today's fast phased economy. Do you believe you cannot meet the demands of your job? You’re not alone if your answer is yes; it happens to many of us.

However, if not addressed, this can lead to multiple consequences, getting behind your workload, eventually leading to missed deadlines. In turn, it will put your career at risk.

But don't be discouraged; you can take steps to improve your situation. In this article, we’ll cover some tips for managing your workload and lowering stress levels. 

Read on for helpful advice on how to cope with an overwhelming job.

1. Create a List of Your Tasks

There always seems to be more to do than time to do, so it is critical to learn how to prioritize tasks. You can determine what needs to be done today and what can wait by organizing your tasks by the deadline, meeting time, or importance. 

What needs to be done urgently? What can wait? By assessing your priorities, you can take some of the pressure off and focus on what's most important. This will help you to reduce stress, gain control, and get things done. 

Here’s how you do it:

  • Create a master list of your tasks
  • Break it down by daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
  • Separate tasks from the urgent ones to the important ones.
  • Rank tasks from each group, from the urgent to the important ones.
  • Finish urgent tasks during your most productive time of the day.

2. Delegate Tasks to Others

It may be because you're trying to do too much yourself if you're feeling overwhelmed – especially when you’re in a leadership role. There are only so many hours in a day, so if you try to do everything yourself, something will have to suffer. 

By giving tasks to other people on your team, you can focus on what only you can do and let someone else handle the rest. This will keep you from getting too overwhelmed and make your team members feel more in charge and motivated.

Here’s how you can delegate tasks to others:

  • Specify the task that must be completed.
  • Identify the best candidate for the job.
  • Provide specific instructions and a timeframe.
  • Follow up and offer assistance as needed.
  • Finally, let go and trust that the task will be completed successfully.

3. Take a Break

It's easy to get stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts when you're feeling stressed. You might start to feel like your boss is always watching you, that the people around you are too loud, and that the walls of your cubicle are closing in on you. 

In that case, here’s what you can do:

  • Walk around the block and get some fresh air. This can help clear your head and relieve the built-up tension you're feeling. 
  • Changing your work scenery is also a form of break. Try working in a different part of your office or work from home if possible. 

4. Don't Be Afraid to Say No 

One of the best ways to manage feeling overwhelmed is to learn to say "No" when someone asks you to do something that doesn't fit your schedule or isn't a priority. Don't try to do everything because you can't. 

Here are some tips:

  • You can say no without saying no by answering, “I’m sorry, I can’t right now.”
  • Provide a reason when saying no, “No, I can’t because….”
  • You can also add appreciation and humility when saying no by saying, “I appreciate you thinking of me, but I don’t think I’m the right fit for that task.” or “Thank you, but I don’t think I have the skills for that task.”

Saying no can be tough, especially if you're a people pleaser or tend to put others' needs before your own. However, when you're feeling spread thin, it's OK to prioritize your time and energy and say no to requests that aren't a priority.

5. Stop Chasing Perfection

You know what needs to be done, have a list of tasks, and are prepared to begin. However, perfectionism is another obstacle that you must overcome. 

Perfectionists complicate even the simplest tasks, causing more work, pressure, and stress. So how do you combat perfectionism?

  • Set realistic goals
  • Adjust your standards and expectations
  • Say NO more often
  • Accept your limits

6. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining our health and well-being, but it's also important for performing our best at work. When well-rested, we're better able to focus, make decisions, and solve problems. We're also better able to manage stress and avoid burnout. 

Here are some tips to help you get enough sleep:

  • Set a regular bedtime and stick to it. 
  • Set a relaxing bedtime ritual.
  • Avoid using your gadgets an hour before bedtime.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption starting noontime.

7. Ask for Guidance 

Received a new task or assignment? Why not ask for help instead of stressing out or working long hours trying to figure it all out on your own? 

Asking for help does not imply weakness or incompetence; quite the contrary, it takes courage to admit that you require assistance and demonstrates that you are willing to go to any length to complete the task correctly.

8. Talk to Your Boss

By bringing your concerns to your boss's attention, you're allowing them to provide assistance or give you additional resources. In some cases, they may even be able to reassign some of your tasks to other team members.

However, you should also be realistic. If they're receptive to your requests, work together to devise a plan to make your workload more manageable. If they're not receptive to your requests, try to understand their point of view and see if there's any room for compromise. 

Conclusion

What are the most helpful techniques for managing to overwhelm at work? We hope these tips help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed at work. 

If you need additional support, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Employers want their employees to succeed, so they are often willing to provide resources or assistance. 

Putting these ideas into practice may take some time, but eventually, they will become habits that make you feel better equipped to manage your workload and stress.

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