Steps to Take When You Feel Overwhelmed by Your Workload

Does your ‘to-do list’ seem to grow longer day by day? Do you start to feel stressed out at the thought of checking your email on a Monday morning? Or maybe you’re starting to feel so nervous on your way to work, that by the time you make it into the office, you’re too anxious to actually concentrate on what you need to do. You might even start to feel your levels of anxiety multiplying on the weekends over a project you have on, even when you’re not supposed to be working on it.

If you’re feeling anxious in the workplace and overwhelmed by the projects you have on and the countless emails that you have to get back to, we’ve got a few suggestions that could help ease your workload anxiety. Stress management is something that

Don’t: Make assumptions regarding other people’s expectations.

We often stress ourselves out by making things harder for ourselves than they need to be. Instead of panicking as soon as you see a hefty email full of tasks from your boss, clarify exactly when you need to complete everything that needs to be done – don’t assume you need to start straight away for tomorrow morning. You should also let people know when you’ll be able to get something back to them, rather than avoiding contact with them. If you think something will take you over a week or more, be honest. You’ll feel a lot calmer.

Do: Construct realistic expectations about what success looks like to you.

People often wind up feeling stressed out when they don’t achieve exactly what they want to in a day’s work. Write out what success looks like to you and make a conscious effort to note the kind of things that are causing you unnecessary stress. For example, if you’re a journalist writing about a topic, remember that you can’t cover absolutely everything there is to know on that topic, instead, cover the necessary and useful information.

Don’t: Spend your weekends replying to work emails.

If you’re used to spending time outside of work, doing work, thinking about work, and emailing people about work, you’re going to start feeling anxious… about work! Practice not responding to people during out of work hours as this will help you form boundaries. If you limit the time you spend replying to business enquiries, you’ll have more time to focus on yourself. More you time means you’ll get to prioritise exactly what’s important to you outside of the business place, alleviating workplace pressures.

Do: Take time off…don’ t wait for the ‘right time’. The right time is now!

If you’re feeling run down, stressed and like you simply need a breather… then have one! If you’re worried about taking too much time off, then start with a day or so here and there. After you do this for the first time, you’ll realise that nothing bad is going to happen to you, your colleagues, or the business if you take some much deserved ‘chill time’.

So, the bottom line is, if you start by trying to change some of your routine behaviours, you could really start to notice a difference in the way you feel (and think) about certain things regarding your workload and how to tackle your role both competently AND comfortably for you.  


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